X JAPAN Mainman Issues Statement Regarding Former Bassist's Passing

X JAPAN mainman Yoshiki has released the following statement regarding the passing of the band's former bassist Taiji Sawada:

"Receiving the news of Taiji's death has left me speechless. I don't know how to cope with the loss yet.

"Playing at the Nissan Stadium together last year brings memories as it was yesterday.

"To imagine what the fans are feeling right now breaks my heart. But that is the reason why we have to stay strong.

"X JAPAN will have to carry on with not only [late X JAPAN guitarist] Hide, but Taiji as well in our hearts.

"May the amazing bassist Taiji rest in peace."

Sawada died on Sunday, July 17 at the intensive care unit in Commonwealth Health Center in Saipan after being removed from life support.

He was reportedly arrested on July 11 and charged with assaulting a female member of a Delta airline flight crew, which was en route to Saipan from Tokyo. He was charged with interfering with the employee's performance and was said to have punched the plane window and to have kicked the seat in front of him.

Sawada reportedly tried to kill himself on July 14 while he was being detained. He was rushed to the ICU after hanging himself with a bed sheet, an act which left him on life support. His mother and fiance elected to remove him from artificial means and he passed away at before noon on Sunday.

Taiji joined X JAPAN on stage at a concert in Japan in August 2010 to perform a couple of songs but has not been a member of the band since 1992.

Sawada played in X JAPAN in 1985 and then again from 1986 to 1992. He was featured on such albums as "Blue Blood" (1989) and "Jealousy" (1991). He went on to record one album with LOUDNESS in 1992 and can also be heard on LOUDNESS' 1994 live release, "Once And For All".

X JAPAN's influential lead guitarist Hideto "Hide" Matsumoto committed suicide in May 1998.

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