On March 28, the world lost a musical icon as a renowned composer and producer Ryuichi Sakamoto passed away at the age of 71. Known for his contributions to electronic music as a co-founder of the Yellow Magic Orchestra and his Oscar-winning score for The Last Emperor, Sakamoto had a lasting impact on the industry.
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Despite battling rectal cancer, which followed a previous battle with throat cancer, Sakamoto continued to work on his music until his final days. His commitment to music was evident in his statement from Avex, the company he worked with, which noted that he lived with music until the end.
Sakamoto’s talent extended beyond music, as he was also an accomplished actor, appearing in films such as Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and The Last Emperor, as well as in Madonna’s “Rain” music video. He even continued to create music until his last days, releasing his album 12 earlier this year and working on several anime titles, including Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise and My Tyrano: Together, Forever.
In addition to his artistic pursuits, Sakamoto was also known for his activism. He was an outspoken critic of nuclear energy and copyright law, which he felt was an outdated concept in the digital age. Sakamoto’s legacy will be felt for years to come, and his impact on the music industry and beyond is immeasurable.