Babymetal Guitarist Mikio Fujioka Dead at 36

Mikio Fujioka, guitarist for Japanese pop-rockers Babymetal, has died at age 36. The news was announced by the band via social media.

“The ‘Little’ Guitar Kami of #babymetal‘s #Kamiband has passed away in the metal galaxies,” Babymetal wrote, referencing Fujioka's nickname, “Ko-Gami,” which means “Little God.”

According to several sources, Fujioka died January 5 after falling from an observation deck December 30. Although the band hasn't officially confirmed the date or cause of death, they did share a salute to Fujioka and one of his idols, British guitarist Allan Holdsworth, who died at age 70 in April 2017, plus a quote from Babymetal's “The One,” which you can hear at the bottom of this story:

"We hope he is now with his guitar master A. Holdsworth and enjoying an epic guitar session with him. We are the one, together, we're the only one, you are the one, forever, #RIP #THEONE."

Fujioka had been with Babymetal for the past five years, essentially as a touring guitarist. The band's tours took them to the far corners of the globe; they even opened for Guns N’ Roses and Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2017.

Fujioka is survived by a wife and two daughters.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.