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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.

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.