Sonny Chiba Cause of Death: Actor Struggled At 82 Due to Health Concern
Sonny Chiba, the Japanese actor who rose to fame through "The Street Fighter" and "Kill Bill" series, has died. He was 82.
On Thursday, his agent and manager confirmed to Variety that Chiba - whose real name was Shinichi Chiba - passed away.
Japan Times revealed that the 82-year-old actor was admitted to a hospital in Kimitsu, Chiba Prefecture, weeks after contracting COVID-19 in July. Although he tested positive for the virus, the actor did not confine himself in a hospital.
However, his pneumonia tragically worsened as he waited for his full recovery. His health deteriorated this month and caused him to be hospitalized on August 8.
It remains unknown how one of Japan's most popular stars got the dreaded disease. Still, his fans paused for a moment to honor the legendary actor who contributed a lot in Hollywood.
One fan shared a clip from one of his films and said, "will never forget the first time i watched the street fighter (1978) which is the yakuza & martial arts film stripped to the purest essential of communication through blunt bodily harm. cut to x-ray of skull crack followed by gushing blood here is unreal."
Sonny Chiba: The Japanese Actor Who Dominated Hollywood's Action Films
Chiba found his fortune when his family moved to Chiba Prefecture when he was 4. At the same district, he discovered his interest in acting and immediately joined Toei Studios in 1959.
He spent years acting for different industries until he landed on the spy thriller flick "Key Hunter" in 1968. He became widely known for his martial arts skills through the 1973 and 1974 films "Battles Without Humanity: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima" and "The Street Fighter."
Because of these, the late actor had been frequently referred to as the Bruce Lee of Japan.
In 1970, he launched the Japan Action Club and welcomed aspiring martial arts film actors.
He rose to fame even more when Quentin Tarantino introduced him overseas. Chiba became part of "True Romance" and "Kill Bill" - where he played a character that became a nod to his role in "Shadow Warriors."
Before his death, he earned over 200 credits under his belt.