Japanese golf legend Teruo Sugihara died Wednesday after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer, according to AFP. He was 74.
In a career spanning a half-century, Sugihara amassed 63 worldwide wins. He turned pro in 1957 and captured the Japan Open in 1962 for his first win. He has the sixth highest win total in Japan Tour history.
In 2006, he became the oldest man to make a cut in a Japan Tour event when he made the cut at the Tsuruya Open at 68 years, 10 months.
Known as 'Viper' for his tenacity, Sugihara continued to play in Japan after his initial diagnosis in 1997 until retirement from full-time competition in 2009. His final tournament appearance came in the 2010 Mizuno Open.
After 51 consecutive appearances at The Crowns, Sugihara was unable to play this year.
Sugihara penned a regular newspaper column in Japan, but signed off on Nov. 9 by saying, 'It's too much to bear it (cancer) and my condition forces me to say, 'I'd rather be dead.''
Isao Aoki, a contemporary of Sugihara, expressed his condolences.
'Mr. Sugihara taught me the rigors of golf since I was young,' said Aoki. 'It is really regretful that we have lost Mr. Sugihara, the most senior active player in golf.'