Shiraki died in 1972 at age 31. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out the cause or why he died so young. Perhaps one of JazzWax’s Japanese readers can shed light.
Hideo Shiraki (January 1, 1933-August ?, 1972) was found dead at his small apartment in Akasaka, Tokyo in September 1st, 1972. He was 39 (not 31!) year old.
The newspaper Asahi Shimbun (the evening edition, p.11, September 1, 1972) reported that an neighbor noticed “weird smell” and called the police at 2:30 A.M. Soon they found Shiraki’s decomposed body on his bed. Shiraki was estimated to have been dead for 5 days, and the cause of death was narcotic overdose.
Shiraki was a great musician, but also troubled soul. His narcotic addiction was known among his peers, and his working behavior became increasingly erratic. The pinnacle of his career was the appearance at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1965. After that, Shiraki lost most of his brilliant sidemen and his popularity quickly faded. The Watanabe music agency fired him in 1968, then he left music industry (there was a rumor that Shiraki was working as the manager of a gay bar since then), and lived in seclusion until his death.