Japanese rocker dies in Saipan: reports

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The Independent Culture

A Japanese rock musician who tried to hang himself after being arrested for unruly behaviour on a flight to the Mariana Islands has died in hospital, reports said Monday.

Rocker Taiji Sawada, who was best known as the former bass player with heavy metal group "X", died on Sunday when medics at Saipan's Commonwealth Health Centre turned off his life support, the Saipan Tribune reported.

The Marianas Variety newspaper reported that Sawada, 45, had been in intensive care since July 14 after he tried to hang himself with a bedsheet in a jail in the US-administered Pacific territory.

He had been arrested three days before for allegedly assaulting a female cabin crew attendant during a Delta Airlines flight from Tokyo to Saipan, court documents showed.

The documents, filed on the Northern Marianas District Court, said the flight attendant went to the business class section after hearing banging and found Sawada struggling with a female passenger.

The crew member said a number of male passengers helped her subdue the musician and move him to another chair but he caused another commotion, punching windows and kicking seats, as the plane prepared to descend to Saipan.

Eventually, the plane's captain ordered Sawada to be placed in physical restraints and he was arrested after the flight landed, the court documents said. No reason was given for Sawada's behaviour.

Sawada enjoyed success with "X" in the late 1980s but left in 1992 and since then had played in various other bands, according to fan websites.