It has been announced that popular TV news presenter Mao Kobayashi has passed away after a long and publicized battle with breast cancer. She was 34-years-old.
Last year her husband, kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo, shared that Mao had been battling breast cancer for the past 20 months. Doctors warned that the disease was spreading extremely fast and intensive treatment began immediately, but by 2016, it had progressed to stage four.
Despite treatment, the cancer continued to spread to her bones and lungs and took her life on June 23, NHK reports.
The initial announcement came shortly after Ebizo made an appearance on SMAP X SMAP with then 3-year-old son Kangen, immediately capturing the hearts of the Japanese public.
Since then, Ebizo had expressed the toll it took on Mao to be away from their two young children while undergoing treatment, along with the difficulty that came in having to explain the situation.
In November 2016, Kobayashi was announced as one of the BBC’s “100 Women 2016“–a list of inspirational and influential women for 2016–after starting a blog about her illness and how she dealt with it. Titled “Kokoro,” it quickly became one of the most popular blogs in Japan with more than 2.5 million readers.
On Ebizo’s official blog, he made an entry regarding his wife’s death saying it was the most he had ever cried in a single day. He thanked fans for their support, and will continue to carry out his duties as a kabuki performer, including performance with his son scheduled for next month. He is scheduled to hold a press conference this afternoon.
Kobayashi is survived by her husband, two children and sister Maya Kobayashi, who is also a popular TV personality.