Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto diagnosed with cancer for second time

Sakamoto said he is undergoing treatment now after surgery. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with rectal cancer, more than six years after he was diagnosed with throat cancer.

In an announcement made in English, Japanese and Chinese on his website and social-media account on Thursday (Jan 21), the award-winning musician said: "I was relieved after the throat cancer that I had in 2014 went into remission after six years. However, unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with cancer again - this time, rectal cancer."

Sakamoto, who turned 69 on Sunday, said he is undergoing treatment now after surgery.

He thanked the doctors for the successful operation and also expressed his gratitude to medical institutions and healthcare workers who have been taking care of patients despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Due to these circumstances, travelling long distances for work will be difficult," Sakamoto said. "Still, I will continue to work as much as I can while in treatment."

The artiste apologised for any inconveniences caused to his ongoing projects and said there may be instances when he has to stop work.

"From now on, I will be living alongside cancer. But I am hoping to make music for a little while longer," he added.

Sakamoto first rose to fame in the late 1970s as a member of electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra. He is best known for scoring late director Bernardo Bertolucci's film The Last Emperor (1987), which won him the Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy awards.

He has scored other films including Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (1983), which he starred in with late singer David Bowie; The Sheltering Sky (1990) and The Revenant (2015). He has released several solo studio albums, live albums and compilation albums.

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