Japanese actor Shinichi Chiba, known outside his country as Sonny Chiba and famous for his martial arts and action films including "Kill Bill," died on Thursday at the age of 82 due to pneumonia caused by Covid-19.

The actor, who had not been vaccinated, was infected at the end of July and was originally treated at home before being hospitalized on Aug. 8 in Chiba prefecture, according to his office, cited by Kyodo News on Friday.

Born in 1939 in Fukuoka as Sadaho Maeda, his family soon moved to Chiba, where he began to practice various sports, with a special emphasis on artistic gymnastics.

In his years of study at a prestigious Nippon Sport Science University in the 1950s, he began practicing martial arts.

The famous producer Toei discovered him in 1960 and Chiba began filming television series before making his debut on the big screen in "Furaibo Tantei: Akai Tani no Sangeki" (The Wandering Detective: Tragedy in Red Valley), the 1961 debut feature of the legendary director Kinji Fukasaku.