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Atsushi Aoki passes away at 41 years old following motorcycle accident

Atsushi Aoki has passed away at the age of 41 following a motorcycle accident.

Kyodo reported this afternoon (via translations from Chris Charlton) that Aoki was killed in the Chiyoda area of Tokyo Monday night after his bike failed to take a curve, hitting the wall of a tunnel. There are no further details on the accident at this time.

Aoki made his debut in Pro Wrestling NOAH back in 2005, training under Jun Akiyama. He made strides there as a junior tag team champion, winning the GHC Jr. tag team titles two times, once with Naomichi Marufuji and another time with Kotaro Suzuki.

Along with Go Shiozaki, Jun Akiyama, Kotaro Suzuki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Aoki departed from NOAH in January of 2013 and joined All Japan Pro Wrestling, with the group forming a stable known as Burning. Aoki ended up winning the Jr. Heavyweight title on three occasions and the All Asia tag team championships three times, once with Kotaro Suzuki and twice with Hikaru Sato.

Aoki is the current AJPW World Jr. champion, having just won the title on 5/20. He was set to defend the championship against Hikaru Sato on 6/18 at Korakuen Hall.