X Japan Bassist Heath Dies at 55; Yoshiki Thought to Have Returned to Japan for Him

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Heath, far left, and other members of X Japan are seen in 2017.

Heath, bassist of the popular band X Japan, died recently, according to sources in the music industry. He was 55.

Yoshiki, the leader of the band, missed an award ceremony of a non-profit organization held in San Francisco on Nov. 1. “Sorry I had to cancel my attendance to receive ‘Award of Honor’ in SF. Someone close to me passed away. I made the decision to return to Japan,” Yoshiki wrote on his Instagram account on Friday. It is believed that Yoshiki was referring to Heath’s death as the cause of his return to Japan.

Only about two months ago on Aug. 20, Heath appeared as a special guest on the final day of Yoshiki’s dinner show in Tokyo and accompanied Yoshiki’s piano during a performance of “Rusty Nail.”

Heath was born in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, and moved to Tokyo in 1990 after being invited by then X guitarist Hide. He joined X Japan in August 1992 after Taiji left the band. The band disbanded in December 1997 and reformed in 2007. He was known as a skilled bassist.

Hide died in 1998 at 33, and Taiji died in 2011 at 45.