How did Miki Matsubara die? The events surrounding her tragic death detailed

Miki Matsubara

Miki Matsubara’s debut and break-out song Mayonaka no Door (Stay With Me) is one of the pioneers of the city-pop genre that took over the Japanese music scene in the 70s and 80s. For twenty years, she forged a steadfast career in singing, songwriting, and composing. But as the year 2001 rolled by, she suddenly disappeared.

Matsubara took a step back from making music and it was unclear why she left. But unbeknownst to the public at the time, she was fighting a losing battle against a terminal illness, and little did they know that she would never return.

Miki Matsubara passed away in October 2004 after battling uterine cervical cancer for four years

Miki Matsubara was diagnosed with late-stage uterine cervical cancer in late 2000. After battling the illness for four years, she passed away on October 7, 2004, at 44 years old. However, the news of her death was publicly announced only a few months later on December 14, 2004.

Matsubara spent the final years of her life fully devoted to treating her cancer after a grim prognosis showed that she had only three months to live. Moreover, she stepped away from the spotlight and took a break from making music altogether.

It is known that shortly after her diagnosis, Matsubara reached out to her friends and colleagues through email. While she did not disclose her illness, she wrote that she was canceling her contract and was no longer going to be continuing her work. The email read:

“I cannot continue my music career due to an uncontrolled thing. I canceled everything, like my telephone, cellphone, and email. So, you don’t have to reply to this. I hope you will have a wonderful life. Miki.”

After sending that final email, Matsubara became a recluse. She proceeded to delete her email account and even went as far as disconnecting her home phone line.

Matsubara felt that her illness was brought upon by “the way she was living her life”

Miki Matsubara did, however, divulge the reasons for the abrupt change in her lifestyle to her family. In one letter to her brother, she wrote:

“I have got a favor [to ask]. Please forget about the years of my life singing and making music. I can’t help but feel that the way I have been living my life has brought about my sickness…I must find a way to reset myself.”

While Matsubara’s words in the message are commonly interpreted as an admission of her resentment of her music career, some fans say that her words were taken out of context.

It was further revealed in a documentary that she burned some of her favorite musical scores and records in her last year because she could not come to terms with the little time she had left to compose music.

According to Matsubara’s father, during her final days, she had said that there were “still so many things” she wanted to do and that she did not “want to die”.

“[Miki] had always been independent, but in the last six months of her life, it was almost as if she became a baby, craving her parent’s love,” recalled her father.

Miki’s last email to her family, which was read by her husband at her funeral, said:

“I realized many things for the first time after I was diagnosed. If possible, I want to be healthy and return the courtesy for [my family] a lot. I want to be healthy and restart my life.”