K-pop boy band EXO’s Baekhyun enlisted in the military on his 29th birthday (30th in Korean age) today, May 6, leaving thousands of EXO-Ls sad.
He announced on April 2 that he would be starting his military service on May 6, becoming the sixth member of EXO to do so after Xiumin, Suho, D.O., Chen and Chanyeol.
Baekhyun entered the Korean Army’s Nonsan Training Center and will receive basic military training for three weeks before fulfilling his duty as a social service worker (previously called public service worker) due to his medical condition of hypothyroidism.
On his Instagram account, Baekhyun posted a photo of him sporting a short haircut. On the EXO fan app, his new photos were also uploaded including one with fellow EXO member Sehun.
Baekhyun will be serving as a social service worker after he was classified by the Military Manpower Administration (MMA), which supervises conscription in Korea, to be under Grade 4, which corresponds to alternative military service.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, “is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain crucial hormones.” Some of its symptoms and signs are fatigue, muscle weakness, pain, stiffness or swelling in the joints, depression, impaired memory and enlarged thyroid gland (goiter).
After undergoing physical examination, Baekhyun was classified as not qualified to serve as an active duty soldier. In the assessment for hypothyroidism, he received Grade 4.
Korean media reported that Baekhyun has the thyroid problem since high school and undergoes blood tests once a year and regularly takes medicine.
“The reason I decided that I should reveal it after not revealing it until now is that there are many people who are asking Eris [nickname for EXO fans] why I am a social service worker, and there are many people who are curious about it, and there are some people who would be questioning if it is some kind of preferential treatment or not. When I thought about it, thankfully, Dispatch asked me and I answered. Because of this thyroid problem, I almost failed to debut as EXO,” he said, according to fans.
He is expected to serve for 21 months and will be discharged on Feb. 5, 2023.