Japanese comedian Ken Shimura dies of coronavirus

The comic, known for starring in 'Hachiji Da Yo! Zen'in Shugo!', died in Tokyo, aged 70

A file photo taken on Feb 22, 2018 shows Japanese comedian Ken Shimura poses for photo in Tokyo. 70-year-old Shimura passed away due to the new coronavirus on March 29, 2020. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun )
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Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, who was in hospital after becoming infected with coronavirus, Covid-19, has died at the age of 70.

His death was reported by Japan's public broadcaster NHK on Monday.

Shimura's career dates back to the early 1970s and he was one of the country's most popular comedians.

He died in Tokyo on Sunday evening.

A man wearing a protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walks past in front of a huge screen reporting death of Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, who had been hospitalised after being infected with the new coronavirus, in Osaka, western Japan March 30, 2020, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.

Shimura was first admitted to hospital with a fever last Friday and doctors diagnosed severe pneumonia.

He tested positive for Covid-19 on March 23. He was the first Japanese entertainment figure to announce he tested positive for the disease.

According to Japanese media, he was due to start a filming project, Kinema No Kamisama, with studio Shochiku.

On March 26, it was announced he pulled out of the project.

Fans pay tribute to Ken Shimura on social media 

Many fans have been quick to remember Shimura on social media, with tributes flooding Twitter.

"Ken Shimura, the most famous comedian in Japan and the god of comedy, died of a coronavirus today. All the Japanese who know him are shocked by the news," explained one Twitter user.

Another simply put: "RIP to the best Japanese comedian, Ken Shimura."

One fan explained that while he was "not very well known in the West ... Japanese Twitter is talking a lot about it, as he was very famous".

Others used his death as an opportunity to remind people to stay home and save lives.

Other fans expressed sadness that Shimura was dead, with one writing: "It's real heartbreaker... Thank you for always making us laugh."