It’s a sad day for fans of the Japanese rock singer as news broke of his death. Wada, age 42, had apparently passed away in the early hours of April 3 owing to complications caused by nasopharyngeal cancer.
He was best known for the songs he contributed to various anime, but none more so than his debut single “Butter-fly” used in Digimon Adventure. He went on to sing five of the opening themes for Digimon, along with the ending themes for Digimon Frontier and the opening for Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
His fight with cancer began in 2003, when a malignant tumor was found in his upper pharynx. He was able to treat it and release his first original album, All of My Mind. By 2011, however, he announced via his blog that he would be taking an indefinite leave from the industry to fight the disease, which had metastasized.
Wada returned to the industry in 2013, and after a successful set of performances, he graced the trailer for the Digimon Adventure Tri films with a new version of “Butter-fly”, along with the closing song for Saikai, which he performed with Miyazaki Ayumi and Maeda. His final MV – “re-fly” was released on March 25, 2015, undoubtedly part of more reversions to his songs from the Digimon series.
As someone who’s been a longtime fan of the Digimon franchise, I can’t really say that it won’t feel odd to not hear his voice on any of the newer tracks. A friend related his voice to “an energetic sense of adventure” with each song he sang.
The “re-fly” mini-album is Koji Wada’s final work, containing re-recorded songs from the Digimon series along with a few previously unreleased tracks. He will be missed.