A 54-year-old man who donated a teacup owned by Lady Gaga to the Miyagi prefectural government died on Thursday, the day after the gift was delivered.
Akihisa Yumi, a dentist from Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, won the teacup, kissed by U.S. singer Lady Gaga, at an auction. Yumi reportedly paid about 6 million yen for the item in a charity organized to raise money for the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which struck the northeastern Tohoku region of Japan.
TBS reported Friday that Yumi contributed the cup to the prefecture on Wednesday and passed away on Thursday. Yumi had reportedly been suffering from an terminal lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Despite his illness, Yumi had volunteered to help perform autopsies in Tohoku in the wake of the 2011 disaster, TBS reported.
Yumi was hospitalized last month when his condition worsened. “He was smiling in the end,” said his sister, Koto Cho, 52. “I guess he was relieved that we had delivered the cup to Miyagi,” she added.
The weeklong auction for the teacup last year drew more than 1,300 bids, and was organized by Yahoo! Japan. The cup was used by Lady Gaga at a press conference in Tokyo three months after the disaster.
Lady Gaga told reporters at the time that she would auction the cup, marked with her lipstick and bearing the Japanese message “We pray for Japan” along with the star’s autograph.
The teacup was one of a number of items sold to raise money for those affected by the calamity, and was the second most expensive lot. The top-priced item was a Kawai crystal piano used by Yoshiki of rock band X Japan, which went for 11,001,000 yen.