Today, September 1, is a bittersweet day for thousands of Super Junior fans all over the world as iconic member Kim Heechul formally enlists for his mandatory military service. As reported on Yahoo! Philippines OMG! last month, the popular star known for his wild fashion sense and “devil-may-care” attitude will be enlisting on September 1.
The E.L.F.s (Everlasting Friends, Super Junior fans) and the Petals (Heechul’s fans) know that Heechul was involved in a vehicular accident back in 2006, which resulted in severe injuries in his lower body. Due to this, Heechul will be serving his country as a public servant for two years.
Aside from being part of the Hallyu idol group Super Junior, Heechul achieved the status of an iconic K-Pop idol for his immense power over the Internet. His Twitter account, @Heedictator, has more than 600,000 followers. One of Heechul’s major Twitter achievements was when he registered as a worldwide twitter trend for four straight days from October 9 to October 12, 2010.
Ever the social media giant, Heechul used his Twitter account to formally say goodbye to his fans. On August 31, he posted several twitpics including one accompanied by a thank you message in 13 languages. He also posted his photo with his shaved head ready for military service.
The Super Junior members were clearly shaken by the temporary departure of one of their elder members. During Heechul’s last stage in Inkigayo for Super Junior’s latest single “Mr. Simple,” the members specially leader Leeteuk, shed tears as they received the top prize for that week. Heechul kept himself strong as other Super Junior members shed tears. In his farewell speech, he said: “This is my last stage before entering the army. It is great to receive such a special award before I leave. Leeteuk is going through a difficult time lately but I am always thankful to him and other members. I love you, all of my fans. Thank you to our managers who put up with my bad manners up until now. This is the end because I am one who is not good at expressing.”
Fans need not be too sad, however, as Heechul recorded a song with legendary singer Kim Jang Hoon. It was reported that the song will be released in mid-September.
On the day of his enlistment, Heechul tried his best to make his entrance low-key by having no public press conference or even any member of Super Junior accompany him to the base. However, his fans cannot help but bid him a formal farewell. They waited for him at the base to show their support and love. Kim Heechul greeted his fans joyfully and entertained them with his wit. He said: “I was not going to greet anyone before enlisting but I think my haircut turned out ok.” He also ask those taking photos to “please edit the pictures nicely if you are going to upload them!” Kim Heechul graciously thanked his fans before entering the base.
With his iconic status in K-Pop, I am very sure that his fans will be waiting faithfully for him to return. In the meantime, enjoy these gorgeous Heechul photos. Stay healthy and happy, Kim Heechul!