Musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with throat cancer.
As a result The Yellow Magic Orchestra founder has cancelled all of his upcoming appearances to concentrate on regaining his health.
Sakamoto, writing on his website, explained that: “The first wealth is health, and hence this bitter decision. I would like to apologise for all of the burden I will undoubtedly be casting upon everyone who has been working with me on various other projects… I promise to return after a full recovery.”
He went on to say he had been diagnosed by doctors last month, just weeks before he was due to inaugurate the first annual Sapporo International Art Festival. As guest director, he has been working on the 2014 festival for “the past two painstaking years”. “Although I will be absent, all of the programs will be of highest quality – this I promise. I would like nothing more than for everyone to enjoy the festival in my place.”
There was a further concert in his hometown of Tokyo on July 30 that has also been cancelled.
Sakamoto formed The Yellow Magic Orchestra in the late 1970s, releasing dozens of albums in a range of styles, while Sakamoto has worked with artists including Brian Wilson, Iggy Pop, and David Byrne. He is best known for writing the soundtrack and starring alongside David Bowie in the 1983 World War II prison camp movie Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence. He also won an Oscar for his score to the 1987 film The Last Emperor.