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TV presenter Mao Kobayashi's last words were 'I love you': husband

Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo announced the death of his wife and TV presenter Mao Kobayashi at a news conference in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on June 23, 2017. (Mainichi)

Freelance TV presenter Mao Kobayashi's last words to her husband and kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo were "I love you," Ebizo said. Kobayashi passed away on the night of June 22 at age 34.

Ebizo told a June 23 news conference at a theater in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward that her 5-year-old daughter, 4-year-old son and other family members were by Kobayashi's side when she died.

"I knew well that she loved me, but she loved me until the very end of her life," Ebizo said tearfully. "She loved every part of me. I wished she would live with me throughout our lives. I wished she would watch over me as I grow as an actor," he said.

Doctors detected what was suspected to be breast cancer in a medical checkup in February 2014 when Kobayashi was 31. Another examination in October of the same year confirmed that she had the disease.

Ebizo announced his wife's cancer in June 2016, and in September that year Kobayashi began a blog about her struggle with the illness.

"I saw her share her joy and sorrow with those with the same disease, and felt that she's not just an ordinary person," he recalled.

When their son Kangen Horikoshi made his first appearance on stage at the Kabukiza Theatre in Tokyo in November 2015, Kobayashi helped prepare him for his appearance despite her cancer after talking the matter over thoroughly with Ebizo. Regarding their two children, Ebizo said, "I think she regretted leaving her children behind. I think she was deeply worried.

"I can't take her place but I'd like to do my best for our children," he said.

Ebizo concluded his news conference by saying, "I think Mao will be with those who supported her forever. Thank you very much for everything."

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