Japan bassist Mick Karn, 52, loses his battle with cancer

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:03 PM on 5th January 2011

Mick Karn, bass player for Eighties pop group Japan, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 52.

The Cypriot-born musician 'passed away peacefully' at his Chelsea, West London home on Tuesday surrounded by friends and family.

Karn's group Japan, which he formed when he was just 15, was part of the new wave movement.

'Visual and sound stylist': Mick Karn, pictured performing with Japan in London in 1978, has died

'Visual and sound stylist': Mick Karn, pictured performing with Japan in London in 1978, has died

The bassist, real name Andonis Michaelides, announced last June he was suffering from advanced-stage cancer.

At the time, he was living in Cyprus with his wife Kyoko and their young son Metis, but hoped to return to London to seek medical treatment.

Karn launched an appeal on his website for help with his medical costs and financial support for his family and was able to return to the UK in September.

 

Leading the tributes was his Japan bandmate, singer David Sylvian, who said: 'May his suffering be at an end, may he find eternal peace.'

Duran Duran bassist John Taylor remembered Karn 'one of the great visual and sound stylists of the late-70s/early-80s'.

Pop idol: Karn, pictured in 1980, was known for his flamboyant style

Pop idol: Karn, pictured in 1980, was known for his flamboyant style

While Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine added: 'Nobody who loved music in the early 80s can have missed Mick Karn. His bass playing was at the forefront of every important Japan song - sensual and stylish.'

Born in Nicosia, Cyprus, Karn and his family emigrated to London when he was three years old.

Japan was formed by Nick and his schoolfriends Sylvian, keyboardist Richard Barbieri and Sylvian's brother Steve Jansen as drummer, in 1973.

They were later joined by guitarist Rob Dean and began to market themselves as a glam rock outfit after signing their first record deal in 1974.

Among their hit albums included Tin Drum and Gentleman Take Polaroids.

Karn was known for his yellow hair in the early days of the band and became a regular in teen magazine such as Smash Hits.

After Japan split in 1982, Karn continued as a musician, collaborating with Gary Numan, Midge Ure, Joan Armatrading and Kate Bush.

Japan briefly reunited in 1991 under the name Rain Tree Crow and released one album.

 

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