Young actress and idol Miyuki Kanbe suddenly passed away on Wednesday morning at a hospital in Kawasaki. Barely 24 years old, Kanbe died of heart failure after repeated hospitalization since early last year.
Kanbe had been cast as Eponine in a production of "Les Miserables" scheduled for June 2007. However, she had to back out of the role in February due to poor health, and after an initial medical examination, she was frequently in and out of the hospital.
According to her agency, Kanbe seemed healthy when she visited the Shibuya office earlier this month. Unfortunately, her condition worsened at the start of this week and she was re-hospitalized, but her heart ultimately gave out.
One of Kanbe's best known roles was as Usagi Tsukino in the "Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon" musicals from 2000 to 2001. She was the third actress to play that part. Her other works include "Battle Royale II" and the "Kamen Rider Hibiki" series. Aside from acting, Kanbe was also active in variety shows, commercials, and photobooks.