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Pop mogul Johnny Kitagawa dead at 87

TOKYO (TR) – Johnny Kitagawa, the 87-year-old president of influential talent agency Johnny & Associates, died on Tuesday after suffering a stroke last month, the agency said in a statement, reports Fuji News Network (July 10).

On June 18, Kitagawa was transported to a hospital from his residence in Shibuya Ward after he experienced physical difficulties. Doctors later diagnosed that he had suffered a stroke.

At 4:47 p.m. on Tuesday, Kitagawa passed away at the hospital after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage. “The curtain of his life has come down,” the agency said.

Born in Los Angeles, Kitagawa first produced the boy band Johnny’s. He was later responsible for the emergence of such other boy groups as SMAP, KAT-TUN, Hey! Say! JUMP, Arashi and KinKi Kids.

Kitagawa holds three Guinness World Records titles as a producer, including for most number-one acts, most number-one singles and most concerts.

Johnny Kitagawa passed away on Tuesday in Tokyo
Johnny Kitagawa passed away on Tuesday in Tokyo (Twitter)

“Johnny kept saying this until the end: There is a ceaseless desire on the part of Johnny & Associates to foster performers, one generation after another, and deliver their happiness to everyone in the world through entertainment,” the agency said. “We sincerely hope that the world will continue to be peaceful, with future filled with hope in which entertainment can be enjoyed forever.”

The agency added that its employees and performers will work to ensure that Johnny’s hopes are fulfilled.

“With each person taking a role, we will make a united effort so that all of Johnny’s wishes will extend all over the world,” the agency said.

Controversy

Kitagawa was the focus of controversy in 1999 after weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun published articles in which several boys claimed they were abused and sexually exploited by the pop mogul.

Kitagawa then sued the publisher of the magazine at the Tokyo District Court. After he was awarded damages, the case was appealed to the Tokyo High Court, while ruled that the allegations of sexual misconduct were not without merit.

Kitagawa was never accused of a crime in the case.