X Japan bassist Heath sadly died at 55 years old earlier this month after a short battle with cancer. Heath played bass for X Japan between 1992 and their breakup in 1997, and then again from their reunion in 2007 until present day.
Now X Japan frontman Yoshiki Hayashi has issued a statement on Heath's death, saying he's at a loss for words at the moment. Yoshiki notes that he will be in charge of Heath's memorial concert, and that he hopes to have more to say in the future. Once again, we wish Heath's friends and family all the best at this time.
"I am still at a loss for words at this heartbreaking news. I am confused as to whether I should be writing this message as Yoshiki or as the leader of X Japan.
"I received the news about Heath's passing right after a performance and event in New York. I flew immediately to Tokyo to say farewell to him.
"Heath joined X Japan in 1992 through an introduction by Hide. The announcement that he joined the band was made at Rockefeller Center in New York, our first concert together was at Tokyo Dome, and our first TV performance was NHK's year-end Kohaku Utagassen. Despite having to jump in during such high-profile events and the pressure he must have felt, Heath always gave it his all as a phenomenal bass player.
"After our band reunited, we went on a world tour in the U.S, Europe, South America and Asia. When I suggested Heath to play bass together with Taiji in what became the latter's final show, he happily accepted. He was such a wonderful bass player, a band member, and a wonderful human being.
"Heath and I got closer than ever over this past year. On my birthday last year, he appeared as a guest on my program, and we talked endlessly afterwards in my dressing room. There was also a time after that when we talked on the phone for hours until daybreak.
"This summer, on August 20th, Heath performed as a guest at my dinner show. How could I have known that that would be my last performance with him? I couldn't help make Heath's wishes come true, and for that I feel fully responsible. I apologized to him when I bid farewell.
"Speaking as Yoshiki personally, I am so mentally and physically drained, so drenched in sorrow, that I don't know what to say right now. I feel that if I stop now, I won't be able to go any further, so I'm immersing myself in my busy schedule. But as the leader of the band, there are still some things that I must do. Heath's family conveyed his words to me: 'Don't be sad,' he said. 'Cheer up, and say goodbye to me with a smile.' Heath also requested that I, Yoshiki, be in charge of his memorial concert. I will discuss this further with his family to make sure that that is accomplished. There are also several things I need to fight for in order to make that happen.
"My story with Heath keeps going on and on. I wish I knew how to express the depth of my feelings here, but first I need to learn how to live with this profound loss. I will have more to say in the future.
"Thank you for everything, Heath. And may you rest in peace. I hope that someday we can play music together again."