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Martial arts legend Shinichi ‘Sonny’ Chiba passed away, age 82, from COVID-19 complications at a hospital in Kimitsu on Thursday.

American audiences knew the Japanese legend – who was reportedly not vaccinated – best from his memorable role as swordmaster Hattori Hanzō in Kill Bill: Volume 1 in 2003.

Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Quentin Tarantino was a huge fan of Chiba’s – even referencing his work in his 1995 film Pulp Fiction and 1993 film True Romance. 

RIP: Martial arts legend Shinichi 'Sonny' Chiba passed away, age 82, from COVID-19 complications at a hospital in Kimitsu on Thursday (pictured in 2003)

RIP: Martial arts legend Shinichi 'Sonny' Chiba passed away, age 82, from COVID-19 complications at a hospital in Kimitsu on Thursday (pictured in 2003)

RIP: Martial arts legend Shinichi ‘Sonny’ Chiba passed away, age 82, from COVID-19 complications at a hospital in Kimitsu on Thursday (pictured in 2003)

Icon: American audiences knew the Japanese legend - who was reportedly not vaccinated - best from his memorable role as swordmaster Hattori Hanzō in Kill Bill: Volume 1 in 2003

Icon: American audiences knew the Japanese legend - who was reportedly not vaccinated - best from his memorable role as swordmaster Hattori Hanzō in Kill Bill: Volume 1 in 2003

Icon: American audiences knew the Japanese legend – who was reportedly not vaccinated – best from his memorable role as swordmaster Hattori Hanzō in Kill Bill: Volume 1 in 2003

The former gymnast portrayed Kamata in Justin Lin’s 2006 sequel The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift as well as Makio Mimura in Kinji Fukasaku’s 2003 flick Battle Royale II: Requiem. 

However, Sonny’s acting career in his native Japan dates as far back as 1960 with some 209 credits in film and television, like The Street Fighter series. 

He delighted in playing the anti-hero as opposed to other martial arts stars to gain international mainstream appeal like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.  

Yakuza boss: The former gymnast portrayed Kamata in Justin Lin's 2006 sequel The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (pictured) as well as Makio Mimura in Kinji Fukasaku's 2003 flick Battle Royale II: Requiem

Yakuza boss: The former gymnast portrayed Kamata in Justin Lin's 2006 sequel The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (pictured) as well as Makio Mimura in Kinji Fukasaku's 2003 flick Battle Royale II: Requiem

Yakuza boss: The former gymnast portrayed Kamata in Justin Lin’s 2006 sequel The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (pictured) as well as Makio Mimura in Kinji Fukasaku’s 2003 flick Battle Royale II: Requiem

Close: Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Quentin Tarantino (L, pictured in 2007) was a huge fan of Chiba's - even referencing his work in his 1995 film Pulp Fiction and 1993 film True Romance

Close: Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Quentin Tarantino (L, pictured in 2007) was a huge fan of Chiba's - even referencing his work in his 1995 film Pulp Fiction and 1993 film True Romance

Close: Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Quentin Tarantino (L, pictured in 2007) was a huge fan of Chiba’s – even referencing his work in his 1995 film Pulp Fiction and 1993 film True Romance

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Anti-hero: However, Sonny's acting career in his native Japan dates as far back as 1960 with some 209 credits in film and television, like The Street Fighter series

Anti-hero: However, Sonny's acting career in his native Japan dates as far back as 1960 with some 209 credits in film and television, like The Street Fighter series

Anti-hero: However, Sonny’s acting career in his native Japan dates as far back as 1960 with some 209 credits in film and television, like The Street Fighter series

Chiba (born Sadaho Maeda) impressively held black belts in ninjutsu, shorinji kempo, judo, kendo, and goju-ryu karate.

He is survived by his three children – daughter Juri Manase, son Mackenyu Arata, and son Gordon Maeda – through his marriages to Yōko Nogiwa and Tamami Chiba.

Fans can catch his final acting role as Jou in Ryuji Yamakita’s action drama Bond of Justice: Kizuna, which hits Los Angeles theaters October 1. 

Curtain call: Fans can catch his final acting role as Jou in Ryuji Yamakita's action drama Bond of Justice: Kizuna, which hits Los Angeles theaters October 1

Curtain call: Fans can catch his final acting role as Jou in Ryuji Yamakita's action drama Bond of Justice: Kizuna, which hits Los Angeles theaters October 1

Curtain call: Fans can catch his final acting role as Jou in Ryuji Yamakita’s action drama Bond of Justice: Kizuna, which hits Los Angeles theaters October 1

Source: dailymail

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