Mainman pledges band will preserve memories of former bassist who died at weekend and guitarist who killed himself in 1998

Tribute: Taiji

X Japan mainman Yoshiki has paid tribute to former bassist Taiji Sawada, who died at the weekend after a suicide attempt following his arrest on a plane.

Sawada, 45, was a member of X Japan between 1985 and 1992 and guested with his former colleagues on stage in Japan last year.

He was the subject of police action on July 11 after an incident on a flight from Tokyo to Saipan, when it’s alleged he disrupted air crew duties and thrown punches and kicks at windows and seats. He was subdued by other passengers and place in restraints until his arrest when the plane landed in Saipan.

While in custody last week he attempted to hang himself using a bed sheet in his cell. He was taken to hospital and placed in intensive care, where doctors discovered he was brain dead. On Sunday his fiancee and mother decided to switch off his life support and he died around noon.

He’s the second band member to take his own life. Guitarist Hide Matsumoto was found dead in a hotel room in 1998, hanged by a towel to a doorknob. His official cause of death was recorded as suicide, although some close to the musician, including Sawada, disputed the verdict.

Yoshiki has paid tributes to the bassist. He says: “The news of Taiji’s death has left me speechless. I don’t know how to cope with the loss yet.

“It breaks my heart to imagine what the fans must be feeling. But that’s the reason we must stay strong. X Japan will have to carry on with not only Hide, but with Taiji also in our hearts.

“Playing at the Nissan Stadium together last year brought back memories like they were yesterday. May the amazing bassist Taiji rest in peace.”

Responding to fan comments on Twitter Yoshiki tweeted: “Life is not easy. Everybody… be strong.”

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