TOKYO (majirox news) – Taiji Sawada, bassist on the first three albums of the band that eventually became visual kei superstars X-Japan, died July 17 in Saipan, his family said. He was 45.
Sawada’s family allowed life support systems to be removed from the musician, who was brain dead after attempting to hang himself using a bed sheet in a Saipan jail cell following his arrest July 11 for obstructing a flight.
Saipan police said that Sawada was arrested after suddenly attacking a flight attendant and had been placed in detention pending federal charges in the United States. On July 14, he attempted suicide by hanging, but was cut down and rushed to a hospital. He was placed on life support.
Sawada allegedly became unruly as Delta Flight 298 was descending in preparation for landing at the Saipan International Airport on July 11. He was in the business class when he became angry with a female passenger and became violent. He allegedly punched the plane’s window, kicked the seat in front of him and assaulted a flight attendant, according to the FBI. The report did not say what caused his anger or if he and the passenger were related.
Sources from the Japanese media revealed that Sawada reportedly had epilepsy and a chronic illness.
Taiji was one of the original members of X, the band that later became X-Japan and went on to become one of Japan’s biggest acts in the 1990s. He played on X’s first three albums before acrimoniously departing from the group in 1992, just as it was on the cusp of nationwide superstardom. He continued playing in a variety of mostly heavy metal bands and played as a guest on a few shows during X-Japan’s 2010 reunion tour.