Ichirô Nagai, the voice actor of Sazae-san‘s Namihei and Ranma ½‘s Happōsai, was discovered after he had collapsed in a Hiroshima City hotel on Monday morning. He was taken to a hospital, but he passed away. He was 82.

nagaiNagai was at a Hiroshima City television station to record a program’s narration Sunday afternoon. After finishing a meal, he stayed at the hotel in the city. Since he did not leave his room by checkout time the next morning, the hotel staff went in to check on his status, and discovered him collapsed in the bathtub. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. The cause of death is unknown, and the police are currently investigating the matter.

Nagai’s many voice roles include Konakii-jiji in several versions of Gegege no Kitarō, Dr. Sakezō Sado in Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers), the narrator in the first Mobile Suit Gundam series and movies, Jigorō Inokuma in Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl, Karin-Sama and Tsuru Sennin in Dragon Ball, Netero in the ongoing Hunter x Hunter anime, Cherry in Urusei Yatsura, Professor Amamori in Queen Millennia, Dr. Reichwein in Monster, and Mito in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. He had just played the old man at the Phantom Ramen Shop in the second episode of Space Dandy. In live-action films, he voiced Dumbledore in the Japanese dub of the Harry Potter films and Yoda in the Star Wars films.

Fellow voice actor Toshio Furukawa noted that he was in shock over the news, having just talked to Nagai at a New Year’s party. Voice actor Akira Kamiya also offered his prayers for Nagai and thanked his mentor for his kindness. Kappei Yamaguchi said, “No… This is the worst… I can’t stand up… No, I won’t listen to the news, l’ll wait for official contact. …At times like this, I want to watch Knight of the Iron Dragon.”

Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news tips

Source: TBS

Update: Nagai’s agency Aoni Production reported that the cause of death was ischemic heart disease or coronary artery disease. Thanks, mrsatan

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