Actor and martial artist Sonny Chiba passed away at a hospital in Kimitsu City in Chiba prefecture on Thursday at 5:26 p.m. due to pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). He was 82.
Chiba’s agency reported on Thursday that he had gone to the hospital on August 8 because his pneumonia from COVID-19 had worsened. He was on supplemental oxygen, but he was unable to recover before his death.
Chiba is survived by his children: actress Juri Manase, actor Mackenyu, and actor Gordon Maeda.
Chiba was born under the name Sadaho Maeda on January 22, 1939 in Fukuoka. He moved to Kimitsu at the age of four. He took on the stage name Shinichi Chiba, and later the name Sonny Chiba for international audiences.
Chiba starred as the title lead in the manga-to-film adaptation Golgo 13: The Kowloon Assignment as well as in cameos in Battle Royale II: Requiem, Kill Bill, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. He gained popularity in Japan through the 1968 TBS television series Key Hunter and the Fuji TV series Shadow Warriors. He is best known worldwide for playing historical icons such as Hanzō Hattori and Jūbei Yagyū as well as fighting masters in over a hundred films. Chiba starred as Takuma Tsurugi in The Street Fighter film. He was also cast in a stage play of the Resident Evil (Biohazard) video game series.
Update: According to Chiba’s agency, he had not been vaccinated for COVID-19. Source: Kyodo News