A founding member of the influential Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto was revered as a pioneer of the genre.
Ryuichi Sakamoto, a world-renowned composer and electronic music producer, has died at the age of 71.
Sakamoto died on March 28th after a battle with cancer, according to a statement published on his website over the weekend. “We would like to share one of Sakamoto’s favorite quotes,” the statement reads. “‘Ars longa, vita brevis.’ Art is long, life is short.”
Revered for his pioneering work as a founding member of the influential Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto had been diagnosed with cancer twice in the span of a decade. He was reportedly diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 before the disease went into remission, but revealed he had rectal cancer in 2021.
Sakamoto’s spellbinding music is prevalently credited as a seminal influence on early techno and synthpop. The Oscar-winning composer was a Renaissance man who collaborated with legends like David Bowie, Thomas Dolby, Iggy Pop and Bernardo Bertolucci.
Grammy-nominated electronic music producer TOKiMONSTA took to social media to share a touching tribute to Sakamoto, a “visionary artist” with whom she collaborated on 2012’s “ODAKIAS.”
“Spending time with [Sakamoto] IRL was always a treat and he had a wonderful no nonsense sense of humor,” she wrote. “I dedicated a song to him while he was well and I’m glad I did—so he knew how much I appreciated him and will do so until it’s my time. Farewell Ryuichi, I hope you’re making the weirdest, coolest, most beautiful music in your next life.”
Many more tributes poured in from the likes of Flying Lotus, The Glitch Mob and Madeon, among others. You can read them below.
We at EDM.com express our sincere condolences to the family, fans, friends and loved ones of Ryuichi Sakamoto.