AWARD-winning Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has died at the age of 71.
After battling cancer for the past few years, Sakamoto passed away on Tuesday, per his management team.
Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has died at the age of 71Getty – Contributor
The composer is best known for writing the score to Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and The Last Emperor.
“We would like to share one of Sakamoto’s favorite quotes: ‘Ars longa, vita brevis.’ Art is long, life is short,” his management team said while announcing his death.
Sakamoto was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1952.
Growing up, he listened to classical musicians like Bach but also enjoyed music from The Beatles.
At age 6, Sakamoto began taking piano lessons and went on to write his own music.
He would later become influential in the rise of electronic pop music.
In 1978, Sakamoto co-founded a band called the Yellow Magic Orchestra, where he played the keyboard.
Sakamoto wrote his first score and also acted in the 1983 film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.
He starred alongside music icon David Bowie.
In the late 80s, Sakamoto won a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and a Grammy for his score in the 1987 film The Last Emperor.
Sakatmoto continued his work after being diagnosed with throat cancer, which was publicly acknowledged since 2014.
In his more recent work, Sakamoto wrote the score for The Revenant, a 2015 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu has curated an album of music from Sakamoto, which will be released on May 5.
In January 2021, Sakamoto announced that he had been diagnosed with rectal cancer.
“From now on, I will be living alongside cancer. But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer,” he wrote on his website.
A funeral service was held with Sakamoto’s close family members, per the composer’s wishes, his management team said.
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