It was announced today that Japanese voice actor Kinryu Arimoto, perhaps best known for his role as Whitebeard in the pirate anime One Piece, passed away at 77 after a battle with esophageal cancer.
His death on February 1st was announced in a number of Japanese publications today, and it's been reported that he had been fighting the cancer since last year. Funeral services have reportedly already been held, with a "farewell event" expected to take place in the future.
In addition to his role as Whitebeard in One Piece, Arimoto provided voices in anime series like Psycho-Pass, Kill la Kill, Full Metal Alchemist, Elfen Lied, and City Hunter, among others. He also did work on the Japanese dubs of major motion pictures and TV series.
Eiichiro Oda's One Piece first began serialization in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997. It has since been collected into over 80 volumes, and has been a critical and commercial success worldwide with many of the volumes breaking printing records in Japan. The manga has even set a Guinness World Record for the most copies published for the same comic book by a single author, and is the best-selling manga series worldwide with over 430 million copies sold. The series still ranked number one in manga sales in 2018.