Actress Kumiko Okae died from pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus at a hospital on Thursday. She was 63.
Okae, whose real name was Kumiko Owada, developed a fever on April 3 and was rushed to the hospital in Tokyo three days later after her condition suddenly worsened, according to her management office. She was immediately hooked up to a respirator and later tested positive for the virus.
It is believed her condition worsened because her immune system was weakened by radiation therapy from late January to mid-February following surgery for early-stage breast cancer late last year, her office said.
Okae made her acting debut in 1975. In addition to dramas, she appeared on entertainment shows, including NHK’s “Renso Game.”
She also hosted Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc.’s “Hanamaru Market” morning information show from 1996 to 2014.
Okae’s husband, actor Baku Owada, 69, and her eldest daughter and actress, Miho Owada, 36, have been staying home since Okae was hospitalized. Both have no symptoms of COVID-19.
“We are very saddened and cannot believe this, it is very frustrating and we cannot think of anything right now,” the two said in a joint statement.
“Everyone, the coronavirus is very scary,” they added. “Please take care.”
Your news needs your support
Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.