Kill Bill actor, Sonny Chiba, has died at the age of 82.
The Japanese star, born Shin’ichi Chiba, died of Covid-19 complications, the actor’s agent confirmed to Variety.
Chiba was one of the first actors to become known for his martial arts skills.
He was one of the studio Toei’s most prolific stars and made his movie debut in sci-fi film, Invasion of the Neptune Men, in 1961.
Chiba’s first international hit was in The Street Fighter in 1971.
While he starred in many other films, he also went on to work as a stunt coordinator, an executive producer, and even directed various films.
In 2003, he was cast in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill as Hattori Hanzo.
In 2004, he returned to the role for Kill Bill Vol. 2, and then in 2011 for Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair.
The actor continued working until a couple of years ago, with his short film Shakespeare in Tokyo being released in 2018.
Tributes have come in for the star, with writer and director Ted Geoghegan writing: “The great Sonny Chiba passed away today at age 82, another victim of Covid-19. A martial arts legend with six black belts who started out in tokusatsu TV, Chiba made over 120 movies for Toei and was Japan’s most popular action star for decades. Watch one of his films today.”
Hideo Kojima added: “RIP, Sonny Chiba. The sun goes down.”