Akira Tsuneoka Cause of Death: How the Hi-STANDARD Drummer Passed Away

Akira Tsuneoka, the drummer and founding member of the Japanese punk rock band Hi-STANDARD, died on February 15, 2023, at the age of 51. His death was announced by his bandmates on their official Facebook page, but they did not reveal the cause of his death. They asked for privacy and respect during this difficult time.

A Beloved Musician and Friend

Tsuneoka, also known as Tsune, was a talented and influential drummer who helped shape the punk rock scene in Japan and beyond. He formed Hi-STANDARD in 1991 with vocalist and bassist Akihiro Nanba and guitarist Ken Yokoyama. The band released five studio albums, starting with their debut mini-album Last of Sunny Day in 1994. They gained international recognition with their second album Growing Up in 1996, which was released under their own imprint Pizza of Death, a division of the US-based punk label Fat Wreck Chords.

Hi-STANDARD toured extensively in the US and Europe, playing sold-out shows with bands like NOFX, No Use for a Name, and Wizo. They were known for their melodic and technical songwriting, as well as their energetic and passionate live performances. Tsuneoka’s drumming was a key element of their sound, as he displayed impeccable rhythm and style. He also contributed to the band’s lyrics and vocals.

The band’s last album, The Gift, was released in 2017. They had been on hiatus since then, due to Tsuneoka’s health issues. According to NME1, he had been battling health problems for some time before his passing.

Tributes Pour In from Fans and Peers

Tsuneoka’s death shocked and saddened many fans and fellow musicians who admired his work and personality. His bandmates Nanba and Yokoyama expressed their grief and gratitude for their friend on social media. Nanba wrote on Twitter: “I can’t believe it. I can’t accept it. I can’t say anything. Thank you for everything, Tsune.” Yokoyama posted on Instagram: “I love you Tsune. You are my brother forever.”

Fat Wreck Chords, the label that helped launch Hi-STANDARD’s international career, also released a statement on their website, saying: “Today, we mourn the untimely death of Akira Tsuneoka, a beloved member of the band Hi-STANDARD, and a treasured member of the FAT family. Tsune will be remembered for his incredible talent, infectious enthusiasm, and genial spirit…He will be dearly missed by family, friends, and fans. Our hearts go out to all those touched by his life and music.”

Many other bands and artists who knew or were influenced by Tsuneoka paid tribute to him on social media as well. Some of them include NOFX, Lagwagon, MxPx, Ken Yokota, FASTCRASH, and more.

A Legacy That Lives On

Akira Tsuneoka’s cause of death may not be known to the public, but his legacy as a drummer and a musician is undeniable. He left behind a rich discography of songs that inspired generations of punk rock fans and bands. He also left behind a memory of a kind and cheerful person who loved music and life.

His music and spirit will live on in our hearts. Rest in peace, Tsuneoka Akira-sensei.

Doms Desk

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