Heath, the bassist from X Japan, the largest rock band in Japan, passed away at the age of 55.
The band announced his death with an official statement on October 29, revealing that he succumbed to colorectal cancer.
‘His cancer was found during an examination in June of this year,’ they wrote. ‘Despite his efforts to battle the disease, his condition declined suddenly in October, and he took his last breath in the hospital’.
‘We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to those who cherished Heath throughout his lifetime,’ continued remaining X Japan members, Yoshiki, Toshi, Pata, and Sugizo.’
‘We, the members of X Japan have personally bid farewell to Heath, but are still deeply saddened and dismayed by his sudden loss’.
In an individual statement, lead singer Yoshiki wrote, ‘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 20 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 concluded.
Born Hiroshi Morie on January 22, 1968, in Amagasaki near Osaka, Heath joined X Japan in 1992. By that time, the band had already made a name for itself with its 1989 album Blue Blood.
Heath performed on the 1993 album Art of Life and 1996’s Dahlia, both of which became smash hits.
Before disbanding, the group gave a sold-out farewell performance on New Year’s Eve in 1997 in Tokyo.
Heath would then try his luck with a solo career. Following the launch of his self-titled debut album in 1995, he went on to release several other albums until 2009.
In 2000, he collaborated with X Japan guitarist Pata and others to create Dope Headz, which produced four albums.
In a 2016 documentary titled We Are X,’ Heath and X Japan were prominently showcased.
‘Heath’s obituary was originally scheduled for release later in November in accordance with his family’s wishes, but it is being announced earlier due to unwarranted media coverage,’ the band’s statement added.
‘A formal farewell ceremony for Heath will be arranged at a later date … in accordance with Heath’s wishes as conveyed by his family.’