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“Wowaka,” the musician most known for his work as a composer for digital pop star Hatsune Miku, died at the age of 31 due to heart failure on April 5.
Wowaka began his Vocaloid production career by posting his first song “Grey Zone” onto Nico Nico Douga, a Japanese video sharing site, in 2009. Some of his most popular songs include “Ura-Omote Lovers,” “Rolling Girl,” and “Unhappy Refrain.” The future of Hitorie is unclear, but the remaining three members say they will continue on with their music in some form.
Wowaka’s last tweet was at the end of March, calling Rei (the name of Japan’s newly announced era) “beautiful.”
令和きれいだー。— wowaka (@wowaka) April 1, 2019
On Twitter, reactions from fans and Hatsune Miku lovers has been expectedly sad and thankful for Wowaka’s work, a large number of these tweets contain custom fan art of Miku and Wowaka. Some fans praised Wowaka for his humble roots, which in turn inspired Vocaloid fans to pursue their own dreams.
wowaka was a genuine inspiration, because vocaloid was known to be a community anyone could make themselves a part of, and wowaka was "anyone" to a lot of us. he had no formal experience besides a guitar/bass. and in three years he essentially became an international indie star— Victoria Rose, freelancer btw xd (@riningear) April 8, 2019
I'm trippin. Wowaka just passed. He was Japanese musician who did a bunch of Miku songs and led the band Hitorie, which I been recently listening to nonstop. Caught up on all their music videos last night and was about to tweet out a bunch of my favorites too. Gone too soon. RIP. pic.twitter.com/dYgfVTRjxJ— Michael Higham (@michaelphigham) April 8, 2019
“I heard the theme for [the Miku 30th anniversary] compilation is ‘gratitude,’ but personally, I made a song themed around love,” Wowaka said. “It’s a bit embarrassing to say, but this is the first song I’ve ever made in my life themed around love. I never gave it a second of thought 10 years ago as I posted songs, but no matter how you look at it, Hatsune Miku is the one who got me to start music. Miku is sort of like a mother figure to me.”
i'll be damned - rest in peace @wowaka you helped define an amazingly fun and charming moment of internet and musical culture that i can't compare to anything else#wowakaさん #wowaka #RIPwowaka #onelasttime #miku— lastkeymusic (@LastKeyMusic) April 8, 2019
artwork by: @camiinoa pic.twitter.com/LElfLIiKSd
wowakaさん— Pure Strawberry Flavour (@sleepy_milk) April 8, 2019
Truthly, thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/RWZOC0rIZ9
It goes without saying that Hatsune Miku as a brand and “performer” will continue. The beauty of Miku is that she’s software that practically anyone can use to create songs, and she has plenty of other famous songs by other composers. But don’t be surprised if future composers take inspiration from Wowaka.
Correction 1:47pm CT: An earlier version of this article mistakenly credited the natalie.mu interview to a translation site. The article has been corrected and clarified.
Joseph Knoop is a gaming writer for Daily Dot, a native Chicagoan, and a slave to all things Overwatch. He co-founded the college geek culture outlet ByteBSU, then interned at Game Informer, and now writes for a bunch websites his parents have never heard of.