Hideto Matsumoto (松本 秀人, Matsumoto Hideto, December 13, 1964 – May 2, 1998), better known by his stage name hide, was a Japanese musician, singer and songwriter. He is primarily known for his work as lead guitarist of the heavy metal band X Japan. He was also a successful solo artist and co-founder of the United States-based band Zilch.
He sold millions of records, both solo and as a member of X Japan. X Japan rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, credited as founders of the Japanese visual kei movement. When they disbanded in 1997, hide focused on his solo career which started four years prior and went on to enjoy significant popularity. At the height of his fame, while recording his third studio album and about to launch an international career with the newly formed Zilch, he died in 1998 of what was ruled a suicide by hanging. hide was seen as an icon for Japanese youth rebelling against their country's conformist society and his death was labeled "the end of an era."
He is also known as Hideto Matsumoto and 松本秀人.
Hide died at age 33 on the morning of May 2, 1998. After a night out drinking, he was found hanged by a towel tied to a doorknob in his apartment in the Minami-Azabu district of Tokyo. He had returned to Japan just five days earlier, after a three-month stay in Los Angeles. On May 1, hide and the members of Spread Beaver recorded for television shows and went out drinking, with his brother driving him home at roughly 6:30 am the following morning. When found unconscious at around 7:30 am, hide was taken to a hospital in Hiroo, where he was pronounced dead at 8:52 am.
Authorities officially deemed hide's death a suicide, and was reported in the media as such. Within one week, three teenage fans had died in copycat suicides, and of the approximately 50,000 people who attended his funeral at Tsukiji Hongan-ji, nearly sixty were hospitalized and about two hundred received medical treatment in first aid tents. His remains were buried in Miura Reien in Miura, Kanagawa during a Buddhist memorial service. Later that month, the single "Pink Spider" was released, entering the Oricon chart at number one. The song would also receive that year's MTV Video Music Award in the category "Japan Viewers Choice". Sales were also strong for the follow-up single "Ever Free" which took its number one spot, while those of the single released prior to his death "Rocket Dive" would also see a substantial increase. American Journalist Neil Strauss commented on the trend saying that: "In just a few weeks, pop culture in Japan had gone from mourning hide's death to consuming it." Popular interpretation of the lyrics to hide's "Pink Spider", which he had performed on the day prior to his death, fueled speculation of a premeditated suicide, because of clear autobiographical elements, and the song's theme of escape from the vicissitudes of life.
Meanwhile, several of hide's friends and colleagues stated that they believed the auto-strangulation to have been an accident, among them X Japan co-founder Yoshiki and former X bassist Taiji. This notion is supported by the fact that no suicide note was left and Taiji theorizes in his autobiography, that at the night of his death, hide may have been practicing a technique to relieve upper back and neck pains which guitarists can suffer from continuous use of a shoulder strap. The technique involved was practiced by the X Japan members during their touring days and required the use of a towel and a door knob or handle. According to Taiji, hide may have fallen asleep in his intoxicated state, becoming caught and strangling himself.