AGENCIES, Tokyo: Famous Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, aged 70, has died of coronavirus. Incidentally, he became the first Japan celebrity to die of COVID-19 and this has led to the whole country mourning.
Shimura reportedly had lung cancer surgery a few years back and was hospitalized after showing symptoms of fever and respiratory problems on March 19, according to media reports.
Shimura’s much celebrated career started in 1974 with the comedy group called Drifters. He was known across Japan for his Charlie Chaplin-like ‘Mustache Dance.’ Shimura was inspired by American comedian Jerry Lewis according to his own memoir, reports CNN.
“I don’t think he imagined he would die a death like this,” a representative with his agency said, reports The Japan Times. “I am sure he was working hard with a sense of mission to deliver laughter to people.”
Besides his Chaplin impersonation, Shimura’s trademark song Higashimurayama Ondo, a reference to his hometown, parodies and simple gags won the audiences over. His popularity soared after appearing opn prime-time TV slapstick show Hachijidayo Zeninshugo!, according to the publication.