• Kyodo

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Yoshiko Tanaka, a former member of the 1970s female pop trio the Candies, died Thursday of breast cancer at a Tokyo hospital, her husband said. She was 55.

Tanaka, whose real name was Yoshiko Odate, was diagnosed with breast cancer in her late 30s and underwent surgery. However, the disease repeatedly returned, said her businessman husband, Kazuo Odate, 56, at a news conference at the hospital.

Tanaka was hospitalized last fall after falling ill. She was temporarily discharged but hospitalized again in February, her husband said, adding that her conditions rapidly deteriorated Thursday morning.

“She used to say she wanted to continue acting. She loved her work,” he said.

“She was always positive and was actively committing herself to cancer treatment with a sense of pride and responsibility for her work,” said Odate, who is the elder brother of the late actress Masako Natsume.

The Candies were extremely popular with young men. The group consisted of Ran Ito, Miki Fujimura, and Tanaka, who was nicknamed Sue.

The trio debuted in 1973 and went on to release a series of hits, including “Toshishita no Otokonoko” (“Younger Boy”), and become one of the groups that captured the spirit of the times.

The group split up in 1978 at the height of its popularity, and the trio’s farewell concert at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall that April drew about 50,000 fans.

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