Japanese actor and martial artist Sonny Chiba was a national sensation due to his iconic performances in films like Yakuza Cop as well as The Street Fighter. He also gained an international audience later in his career, thanks to his appearances in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill as well as the wildly popular franchise film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
It was confirmed earlier this month that Chiba was experiencing severe symptoms because of a Covid-19 infection. On the 8th of August, he was hospitalised because he had pneumonia and was having trouble breathing without medical intervention. People close to him confirmed on August 19 that the Japanese star had passed away due to complications caused by the viral infection.
Chiba was set to star in a new project before the pandemic which was somewhat ominously titled Outbreak Z, alongside the likes of Wesley Snipes and Jesse Ventura. However, the plans did not come to fruition and his last role remains his part in Bond of Justice: Kizuna which will be released posthumously now.
“He was a great friend and an awesome client. Such a humble, caring and friendly man,” Chiba’s manager Timothy Beal said. “I will surely miss him.” His publicist also confirmed that the actor was unvaccinated at the time of his initial exposure to the virus which explains the severity of the consequences of the infection.
“I love acting, love martial arts and love marrying the two on film. I am always grateful to be on set and working with amazing people,” Chiba once said in an interview. “Everything is connected. There is a right time for everything and I enjoy it all. Recently I have really been enjoying writing. I can go have dinner and suddenly get the urge to write and just stay there all night. I write on whatever I can get a hold of (paper, napkin, etc.) and then forget to eat the meal I ordered.”