The official website of talent management agency Aoni Production revealed on Friday that voice actor Unshō Ishizuka passed away on Monday due to esophageal cancer. He was 67 by modern age reckoning, and 68 by traditional Japanese age reckoning.
Aoni Production noted that Ishizuka had been receiving medical care for some time before his death, but it had not proved effective. His close relatives held a private wake and a funeral, and a public farewell ceremony is being planned, with details to come at a later date.
Since his 1984 debut in voice acting as the narrator in Giant Gorg, Ishizuka played a large number of starring roles in anime. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop; Professor Oak, Narrator, and various Pokémon in the Pokémon franchise; Mr. Satan in Dragon Ball Super; and Joseph Joestar in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable. Most recently he has voiced the characters Willibard Joachim von Merkatz in The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These, Dino Golzine in Banana Fish, Cain Ibrahim Hassan in Last Hope, and the narrator in Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. Ishizuka was also active in Japanese dubs of Western films, most notably dubbing roles played by Liam Neeson and Laurence Fishburne.
Update: Noted difference in age reckoning. Thanks to Gwyn Campbell for the tip. Source: Oricon