Martial arts star of 'Kill Bill,' dies of COVID-19 complications
Shin'ichi "Sonny" Chiba, a star of martial arts cinema in his native Japan and known for his contributions to films like "The Street Fighter" and "Kill Bill" series, died this week from COVID-19 complications, CNN reports.
Chiba's representative, Timothy Beal, confirmed the star's passing.
The martial arts expert was born Sadaho Maeda and got his start by training with Mas Oyama, who was considered a master of karate. He went on to earn several black belts during his time under Oyama's wing, according to Variety.
He took his skills to the big screen for the first time in 1973, with the film "Karate Kiba."
Chiba became widely known for his role as Hattori Hanzo in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Vol. 1." But he had a prolific career in film and TV, with more than 200 credits on IMDb, including a role in 2006's "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift."
In a 2015 interview, Keanu Reeves, the actor said of Chiba, "Character and action ... you brought together. There was always heart to [Chiba's characters.]"
Chiba was 82.
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