Composer Ryuichi Sakamoto died at the age of 71. According to the Yomiuri newspaper, the musician died at a Tokyo hospital on 28 March. Sakamoto had been battling colon cancer. He was also diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in 2014. The disease later went into remission. The composer developed rectal cancer to the fourth stage and as a result affected his lungs. He has had six operations in recent years.
Sakamoto’s career started in 1978. He founded the Yellow Magic Orchestra, together with Yukihiro Takahashi and Haruomi Hosono. The band is considered one of the pioneers of Japanese electronic music. The group released a total of nine studio albums.
Sakamoto later became famous as a film composer. Sakamoto wrote music for Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, Under Cover of Heaven and The Little Buddha. He won a Grammy, Golden Globe and Oscar for the soundtrack to The Last Emperor in 1988, becoming the first Japanese to win the Academy Award for Best Original Soundtrack. He won another Golden Globe with the music for “Under Cover of Heaven. In 1983 he won a BAFTA for the score to Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. The Japanese also co-starred with David Bowie, Tom Conti and Takeshi Kitano in this film.