Japanese football club Tegevajaro Miyazaki has announced the death of forward Masato Kudo at the age of 32, the Japan Times has reported.
“From his achievements in J1 to his selection for Samurai Blue, Kudo was a tremendous player. Yet he was never arrogant and cherished his teammates, the club and our fans. He personified our club’s motto, ‘shinshi’ (honest ).For that type of player to leave so soon is sad and unfortunate,” said club president Keita Nimura.
Kudo, a former Japan International and MLS soccer player, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus – a build-up of fluid in the ventricles of the brain – and hospitalized on October 3 after falling ill the previous day, Reuters reported.
Japan’s Professional Football League confirmed his death on Twitter:
“Along with the entire Japanese football community, we mourn the death of Masato Kudo and wish to express our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” he said. statement read
While playing for Kashiwa Reysol early in his career, Kudo was the club’s top scorer in Japan’s top tier of soccer and won three major club titles in Japan, local media reported.
He played four games for the Japan national team in 2013, scoring two goals, before leaving the country to join Vancouver Whitecaps FC for the 2016 MLS season.
“Kudo was loved by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him,” Whitecaps FC said in a statement. “He was kind, friendly, and his smile would light up a room.”
Honors also came from Australia, where Kudo played for Brisbane Roar in the 2020-21 Isuzu UTE A-League season, making 14 appearances for the club.
“He had such a wonderful personality and always went to training every morning with a bright smile on his face,” A-League men’s coach Warren Moon said.
“He will be greatly missed, and our hearts go out to his wife and young daughter at this difficult time.”
Kudo’s former teammates at Brisbane Roar honored him in the game they played on Saturday Picking up a jersey with his name and number on the back against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
“Football Australia is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Japanese striker Masato Kudo,” Football Australia, Australia’s sporting body, said in a tweet.
“Our sincere condolences go out to his friends, family and the wider Japanese football community at this difficult time.”