On October 22, Ryuukishi07 announced in his diary that BT, 07th Expansion's webmaster, debugger, and chief communicator (as well as one of the founding members of the circle), passed away this summer:
(translation courtesy of chronotrig from Witch Hunt)It's difficult to find the words to describe how we feel about this...
Today, I have some very sad news to report.
On July 10 of this year.
BT passed away due to an illness.
I decided to wait for the character poll, made possible by all of those volunteers, to finish before making this announcement.
After all, it was an event which BT poured all of his heart and soul into.
Now that it has passed smoothly, I feel that it's right time to make this announcement, and I sincerely apologize for not explaining his long absence previously...
He was not only my very best friend, but also my very first reader.
I wrote both Higurashi and Umineko because I wanted to surprise him.
During the several months that passed since that day.
I forgot the joy of writing.
However, I know better than anyone else that if I stop writing because of him, he would be the most sad.
So I must write.
But he will no longer read it.
I think I'll use today as a chance to set my heart back to square one.
No, perhaps it's just the same as always.
I think I'll start writing again for him to read.
BT left behind more than his heart and feelings.
The debug system he frequently remodeled is now an essential part of the way we complete these complicated productions in such a short period of time.
We'll use that system in the upcoming crunch time...no, we'll probably keep on using it forever.
I plan to continue working on these along with him forever.
To all of you who socialized with BT at special events, thank you very much.
He truly treasured all the unique gifts given to him, and he always had them arranged by his side.
Also, he said that he enjoyed socializing with you more than anything else, and he would always participate in doujin events no matter how busy he was.
I am deeply grateful to all of our fans.
Thank you very much.
BT, thanks so much.
If I hadn't met you, I wouldn't be who I am today.
So, if I stop writing, it will be as though I never met you...
So, I'll grit my teeth and write.
As I remember what you taught me.・～・～・～・～・～・～・～・～・～・～・～・
BT was the one who replied to our emails earlier this year about our patch, and was very kind and supportive. He was also very excited to hear that there was interest in translation of Higurashi into other languages, so we were looking forward to sharing with him the news of Mion's release of PONScripter that would allow these other-language projects to go forward.
Witch Hunt has started a thread at AnimeSuki as a central place for people to express their feelings and best wishes for the group. We will also be emailing 07th Expansion with our condolences.
Mion & Shion