K-pop boy band INFINITE has become a six-member act with the departure of former member Hoya, the group's management revealed on Wednesday.
INFINITE’s label Woollim Entertainment announced that Hoya (Lee Howon) had opted to leave the group and the entertainment company after the band’s original contracts expired in June, seven years after the group's debut in 2010. The remaining members of the boy band -- Kim Sungkyu, Jang Dongwoo, Nam Woohyun, Lee Sungyeol, Kim Myungsoo, and Lee Sungjong -- have chosen to re-sign with the agency and will continue on as INFINITE.
The news of Hoya’s departure came two months after Woollim revealed that all but one member of INFINITE had chosen to renew his contract with the boy band, a popular K-pop act that is known for precisely synchronized dance moves and sleek electropop hits like "The Chaser," "Be Mine," and "Back."
In a press statement released to Korean media on Wednesday, Woollim confirmed that the past two months were spent considering the future of INFINITE as a six-member group once Hoya chose to leave, reports Soompi.
The group’s final album with all seven members was their Japanese album Air, released in May, while their final Korean album with the original line-up was 2016's Infinite Only.
A versatile performer, Hoya was one of INFINITE's primary rappers and dancers, and was one half of the act’s hip-hop subunit, INFINITE-H. Along with his career in K-pop, he has gained renown as an actor, appearing in Korean television shows like Reply 1997 and Radiant Office.
While in INFINITE, Hoya also frequently uploaded cover videos of himself singing or dancing to YouTube, including a cover of Ed Sheeran's “Thinking Out Loud" on Aug. 22 that he subtitled "Dear fans."
2017 has proven a tumultuous year for Korea’s pop industry, with INFINITE joining several other high-profile K-pop acts seeing shake ups this year; groups such as Wonder Girls, AOA, Sistar, and T-ara have all either broken up or seen member departures.