I always thought about when I might be on Japanese TV someday... but this is not how I envisioned it:
The sad, tragic story (a few posts strung together):
LOUDNESS Drummer MUNETAKA HIGUCHI Dead At 49 - Nov. 30, 2008 WeROCK City has informed BLABBERMOUTH.NET that drummer Munetaka Higuchi of veteran Japanese metallers LOUDNESS passed away today (Sunday, November 30) around 10:00 a.m. (Japan Standard Time) at a hospital in Osaka, Japan. He was 49 years old.
Higuchi was diagnosed with liver cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) in April 2008. He had reportedly undergone two rounds of chemotherapy treatment and an operation to remove part of his liver.
In an October 18, 2008 statement released via the band's official web site, Munetaka stated about his condition, "It has been half a year since I was diagnosed with liver cancer. I am really sorry that the fans are worried. The cancer has become worse despite the fact that I have been taking care of my health, and I will need more time for my treatment. [Even after undergoing the] big operation to remove half of my liver, I still need more treatment. There are various risks and dangers involved with my condition, but I'll do my best to keep my spirits up and maintain my physical strength to fight this illness. I know it is still the middle of my treatment, but I just wanted inform you about my progress since the operation. Thank you very much for all the support."
LOUDNESS utilized a session drummer — Kozo Suganuma, a member of one of the most popular fusion bands in Japan, FRAGILE, and a former member of DED CHAPLIN (featuring LOUDNESS singer Minoru Niihara) — for its "special guest" appearance at MÖTLEY CRÜE's October 26, 2008 concert at Saitama Super Arena.
LOUDNESS recently released a four-disc DVD set entitled "The Legend Of Loudness - Live Complete Best" in Japan through Tokuma Communications. It features footage spanning the band's entire career — from the early 1980s through 2008 — including the periods when it was fronted by Michael Vescera (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, OBSESSION) and Masaki Yamada (EZO).
MEGADETH Drummer Comments On Passing Of LOUDNESS' MUNETAKA HIGUCHI - Nov. 30, 2008MEGADETH's Shawn Drover has commented on the passing of LOUDNESS drummer Munetaka Higuchi, who died this morning (November 30) after a seven-month battle with liver cancer. He said, "I just found out that one of my favorite drummers passed away — Munetaka Higuchi from the band LOUDNESS. Munetaka had been diagnosed with liver cancer less than one year ago and lost his battle [today], which makes me very sad. I have been a LOUDNESS fan since 1983 and have continued to follow them throughout the years. Every time we tour Japan, I would always ask our promoter if it was possible to get in touch with the LOUDNESS guys in hopes that they may attend one of our shows. Akira [Takasaki, LOUDNESS guitarist] was rumored to swing by at one of our shows in 2005, and though it didn't happen, Glen [Drover, former MEGADETH guitarist and Shawn's brother] and I sure were excited about that possibility. This is once again a reminder to enjoy life and be thankful for what I have."
Message from Akira:
"To all the loudness fans
Our member Munetaka Higuchi has laid down his sticks as drummer of Loudnessand with them he has left that mortal part for which he no longer has use.
He was deceased on Nov. 30th 2008 10:44 am because of lever cancer. Hisgreat drum works will remain forever with our music, and his rock spiritswill be succeeded among many rock fans.
Rest in peace Munetaka,
Akira Takasaki (Loudness)"