I think I was in 7th grade when I first heard "Butter-fly." Having only been exposed to the dub at that time, I was blown away by how different and beautiful the original theme song was. From then I was hooked and continued to follow his music for the rest of my middle, high school, and college days. I'd do my homework or go to classes listening to Wada. I went to sleep listening to Wada. I first started driving my car listening to Wada. Almost every Christmas I make sure to listen to Wada's Christmas songs. This is amongst other artists of course, but still, he was almost always there.
I was on tumblr last night when I read onkei_kun 's post about the announcement of his passing. I was in shock because after his recovery some years ago and increased musical activity recently, I wasn't expecting this at all. So sudden. I listened to "Butter-fly" and started to cry, so I went to sleep. I listened to more of his songs on my way home from work today and cried again. I'll try to listen to more tonight...and will probably cry again.
I don't know, I still can't believe it. I remember back when he announced his return from recovery, I was so shocked because I knew I hadn't heard about him in a while, but had no idea he was battling pharyngeal cancer. I was so shocked but happy that he had fought it and had that enthusiasm to return to his music. Even though it surely took a toll on his voice, he still came back. Although it was only for a short while, I hope he was able to feel the happiness his fans felt when he returned.
It also makes me sad to think that he didn't at least get to see the Digimon 15th anniversary project through to the end. I know it's just a show, but it must have had a special place in his life too since he created so much music for it for the past 15 years. It was so amazing and exciting to hear his remakes of the theme songs when the Digimon tri OVAs were released last year...but now when the last 2 get released, I'll probably just feel sad knowing that these are a couple of the last songs we'll ever hear from him.
RIP Wada Kouji. I'm grateful that he shared his talent with us right to the very end.