Heath, the bassist of legendary Japanese rock band X Japan, died on Oct. 29 after a battle with colorectal cancer. He was 55 years old.
The news of his death was announced in a statement issued by the band on Friday (Nov. 19). “His cancer was found during an examination in June of this year. Despite his efforts to battle the disease, his condition declined suddenly in October, and he took his last breath in the hospital,” the statement reads. Additionally, the band notes that Heath’s funeral will be private and attended by immediate family members only, and that his family asks for any visits, donations or flowers to be withheld.
Heath played bass for X Japan from 1992 up until the band’s split in 1997, and reunited with the group in 2007. He was with the group through the releases of albums like 1993’s Art of Life and 1996’s Dahlia. In 2018, the group performed at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
X Japan’s frontman Yoshiki Hayashi also shared a personal statement of mourning to his Instagram page, writing, “He was such a wonderful bass player, a band member, and a wonderful human being.
“Heath and I got closer than ever over this past year,” he continued. “On my birthday last year, he appeared as a guest on my program, and we talked endlessly afterwards in my dressing room. There was also a time after that when we talked on the phone for hours until daybreak. This summer, on August 20th, Heath performed as a guest at my dinner show. How could I have known that that would be my last performance with him? I couldn’t help make Heath’s wishes come true, and for that I feel fully responsible. I apologized to him when I bid farewell.”
Yoshiki’s statement continues, “Speaking as Yoshiki personally, I am so mentally and physically drained, so drenched in sorrow, that I don’t know what to say right now. I feel that if I stop now, I won’t be able to go any further, so I’m immersing myself in my busy schedule. But as the leader of the band, there are still some things that I must do. Heath’s family conveyed his words to me: ‘Don’t be sad,’ he said. ‘Cheer up, and say goodbye to me with a smile.’ Heath also requested that I, Yoshiki, be in charge of his memorial concert. I will discuss this further with his family to make sure that that is accomplished. There are also several things I need to fight for in order to make that happen.”
He concluded, “My story with Heath keeps going on and on. I wish I knew how to express the depth of my feelings here, but first I need to learn how to live with this profound loss. I will have more to say in the future. Thank you for everything, Heath. And may you rest in peace. I hope that someday we can play music together again.”
Read Yoshiki’s full statement here.
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