He was the voice of a generation of anime fans.
Chris Ayres, best known for voicing the “Dragon Ball” villain Frieza, has died at age 56.
His passing was revealed on Twitter by girlfriend and fellow anime voice star Krystal LaPorte, who had worked alongside Ayres on “Dragon Ball.”
“On October 18th at 8:40 pm, my world went dark,” the “Tamako Market” actress wrote. “Christopher Owen Ayres passed away peacefully, held close by his mother, brother, and girlfriend.”
Ayres’ cause of death hasn’t been specified, although he was diagnosed with end-stage cardiac obstructive pulmonary disease in 2017, Entertainment Weekly reported on Tuesday. The anime icon kept fans abreast of his health status on social media, regularly uploading pics of his hospital stays and treatment sessions.
In 2020, friends and family created a GoFundMe for LaPorte’s beau with the goal of helping pay for a vital double lung transplant for Ayres. The fundraiser garnered over $75,000 as of 2021.
The Virginia-born voice actor first made a splash in the “DB” universe by appearing on Funimation’s dub of “Dragon Ball Z Kai.” He went on to portray powerful baddie Frieza in “Dragon Ball” and the movie spinoff “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” (2018), as well as several “DB” video games.
Aside from his work on “Dragon Ball,” Ayres lent his voice to a variety of other anime projects, including “Maburaho,” “Black Butler,” “Sengoku Basara,” “Gantz,” “Tears to Tiara” and “Fairy Tail.”
Friends and fans have since flocked to social media to mourn the anime legend’s passing.
“Rest In Peace, Christopher Ayres,” wrote Funimation on Twitter. “Thank you for all that you’ve done for so many fans. We’ll miss you dearly.”
Toei Animation, the Japanese studio behind “Dragon Ball,” “Sailor Moon,” and other anime classics, also offered their condolences, writing:
“May you rest in peace Chris Ayres, a magnificent voice actor who brought many wonderful characters to life including our Frieza. You will always be remembered. Thank you for everything.”
“Chris loved you all,” wrote Laporte in text document she shared on Twitter. “How much he loved other people filled the vast majority of our conversations.”
She added, “To those of you who truly loved him back, thank you. To those of you who stayed in touch, checked on him, reminded him that he was so, so much more than his job, you were the fuel of his fight. You fed the dreams of a future that kept him going longer than any normal person could go.”
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