X Japan bassist Hiroshi Morie, better known by his stage name of Heath, died on Oct. 29 after a battle with colorectal cancer, the band said in a statement released on Friday.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of X Japan’s esteemed bass player Heath after his battle with colorectal cancer,” the statement read. “Despite his efforts to battle the disease, his condition declined suddenly in October, and he took his last breath in the hospital. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to those who cherished Heath throughout his lifetime.”
“We, the members of X Japan have personally bid farewell to Heath, but are still deeply saddened and dismayed by his sudden loss,” the message concluded. Individual tributes from X Japan members will be shared on Heath’s official website.
A private funeral will be held later for immediate family, with a formal farewell ceremony to be arranged at a later date.
“The family asks that any visits, donations or flowers be withheld. The date of the funeral will remain undisclosed. We appreciate your understanding,” the statement said.
X Japan, whose sound ranged from speed metal to J-pop, was formed in 1982 by drummer and pianist Yoshiki Hayashi and lead vocalist Toshimitsu “Toshi” Deyama. Morie was a member of the group from 1992-1997 and again from 2007–2023. They released a new album, their first in eight years, earlier this year.
The band made headlines in July after Elon Musk decided to rebrand social media platform Twitter as “X.” Yoshiki tweeted at the time that “X Japan,” the likely new name of Twitter Japan, was already trademarked.
X Japan was the subject of the documentary “We Are X,” directed by Stephen Kijak. It premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Best Editing.