Heavy metal band X JAPAN released a public statement on November 10 regarding bassist HEATH’s sudden passing. The news of HEATH’s death became widespread throughout Japanese media on November 7. X JAPAN drummer, pianist, and leader YOSHIKI has since pleaded to his fans on social media to allow for time to collect his thoughts.
The statement revealed that HEATH was unexpectedly diagnosed with colorectal cancer in early June of this year. Despite his efforts to battle the disease, his condition quickly deteriorated in October. HEATH took his last breath in the hospital on October 29, at the age of 55.
Members of X JAPAN have issued individual statements on HEATH’s official website.
Drummer and pianist YOSHIKI:
I am still at a loss for words at this heartbreaking news. I am confused as to whether I should be writing this message as YOSHIKI or as the leader of X JAPAN.
I received the news about HEATH’s passing right after a performance and event in New York. I flew immediately to Tokyo to say farewell to him.
HEATH joined X JAPAN in 1992 through an introduction by HIDE. The announcement that he joined the band was made at Rockefeller Center in New York, our first concert together was at Tokyo Dome, and our first TV performance was NHK’s year-end Kohaku Utagassen. Despite having to jump in during such high-profile events and the pressure he must have felt, HEATH always gave it his all as a phenomenal bass player.
After our band reunited, we went on a world tour in the US, Europe, South America, and Asia. When I suggested HEATH to play bass together with TAIJI in what became the latter’s final show, he happily accepted. 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. 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.
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 good bye 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.
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.
I simply can’t put words to my feelings at this time.
HEATH, thank you, with all my heart.
Such unfathomable misfortune. I’ve always wanted to keep playing with you.
I’ll keep going for a little while yet, so please watch over me.
For now, rest in peace.
Guitarist and violinist SUGIZO:
My treasured brother, HEATH.
I can’t believe it. That you’d been fighting this whole time. That you’re gone just like that.
It just tears my heart apart.
It’s been 32 years since we met as fellow musicians. 15 years since we played together as a band.
The time we spent together still shines brilliantly in my memories.
I wanted to stand next to you on stage again. And see what the world would bring us next.
You were the most stoic, ironclad, and solitary bassist I had ever known.
I only felt respect for you.
My treasured brother, HEATH.
I’ll never forget the time we stood on stage together, a year ago.
Thank you truly, for all your hard work. For all your service. May you rest in peace.
Let’s make some noise together again, some day on the other side.
HEATH’s funeral will be held only among immediate family members on an undisclosed date. The family asks to hold off on any visits, donations, or flowers.
A formal farewell ceremony for HEATH will be arranged at a later date. It will be led by YOSHIKI, in accordance with HEATH’s wishes and as conveyed by his family.
The members of X JAPAN extend their love and prayers to HEATH and thank everyone for their support and understanding.