Japanese model, television personality, and LGBTQ influencer Ruychell has died aged 27, BBC reported. The performer, whose real name is Ryuji Higa, was found dead by their manager at the agency’s office in Tokyo.
The 27-year-old’s cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but police are investigating whether Ryuchell died by suicide.
Japanese newspaper The Mainichi reported that the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo is looking into the details surrounding Ryuchell’s death.
Ryuchell was born in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, in 1995 and worked for a used clothing shop in Tokyo’s Harajuku after graduating from high school. Ryuchell gained recognition as an Instagram influencer in Harajuku, and was well-known for their genderless style of dressing.
As a longtime advocate for LGBTQ issues in Japan, they frequently spoke on the subject in public and actively participated in Tokyo Rainbow Pride, as per Japan Times.
As their popularity grew, Ryuchell was featured on multiple TV shows and at several queer events in Japan.
In 2016, Ryuchell married a fellow model, Peco, and the pair had a son. However, in 2022, the couple announced via social media they would divorce but continue to raise the child together. Ryuchell also declared that they no longer identified themselves as male, attracting much criticism online.
Ryuchell was active on social media, revealing that they felt suffocated by the title of “husband” and that they and Peco had been searching for a “new form of family.”
Meanwhile, many accused the celebrity of being an absent father and criticised their decision to come out.