The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department reported on Friday that seiyuu Sumiko Shirakawa died at the age of 80. Shirakawa was found in her home on Thursday and taken to the hospital, where examiners confirmed her death. Medical examiners will conduct further analysis to determine the cause of death.
Shirakawa did not appear at the recording session of Sazae-san on Thursday. A staff member from the program and a family member visited Shirakawa's home and discovered her unresponsive in the bathroom. According to the Suginami Police Station, Shirakawa had been living alone.
Shirakawa's best known role was as Hiroshi Nakajima in Sazae-san, a character she voiced since 1969. The episode airing November 29 will be her final appearance in the series. An audition will be held to determine Nakajima's new seiyuu.