KEY POINTS

  • Chen said goodbye to his fans via a handwritten letter ahead of his military enlistment
  • Chen is the fourth member of EXO to enlist in the military after Xiumin, D.O. and Suho
  • Chen’s announcement comes a day after he dropped his new single, "Hello"

EXO member Chen has announced that he will begin his mandatory military service on Oct. 26.

Chen, whose real name is Kim Jong-dae, announced the news through a handwritten note that he shared with fans on Lysn, a community website where EXO members can interact with their fans.

"The reason I’m writing to all of you today is to inform you that I’ll be enlisting in the military on October 26 and to at least say goodbye to you through this letter," the 28-year-old K-pop star said in his letter to fans.

"During my time in service, I will do my utmost to fulfill my duties in good physical and mental health, so that I can show you growth and improvement when I return and greet you again," Chen continued. "In that time, I hope that all of you will also stay as beautiful and healthy as you are now!! I’m always grateful to you, and I love you."

Chen's announcement comes a day after he released the music video for his new single, "Hello." A number of fans had predicted that the song would be his last release before his mandatory military enlistment. The video showed Chen spending a lonely day at home while singing about his past love. 

"Hello" is Chen's first solo since the EP "Dear My Dear," which was released in October 2019.

He is the fourth member of the South Korean act to enlist after Xiumin, D.O. and Suho.

Shortly after news of Chen’s enlistment broke, fans took to social media to send him their well-wishes and blessings.

"To be positive, I'm also glad that Chen will enlist atleast he'll be able to rest from the toxicity of media and as an artist. Hope he would do well in the military," one fan wrote.

"Who knew there was a silent GOODBYE in that HELLO yesterday. When we thought that is his comeback time he is already leaving for the military. Here we are not yet over the lyrics of the song and yet we are here taking another heartbreaking news," another tweeted.

Back in January, Chen surprised fans by announcing that he was getting married to his non-celebrity girlfriend and that they were expecting a child together. In April, it was reported that the couple welcomed a baby girl.

K-pop group EXO Boy band EXO attends the 6th Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards on February 22, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Getty Images/WireImage/Han Myung-Gu