Japanese Star Rikako Ikee Diagnosed With Leukemia

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Japanese national record holder Rikako Ikee has been diagnosed with leukemia, sharing the news in a tweet on Tuesday.

Ikee wrote a lengthy post in Japanese. When roughly translated, it reads:

“Thank you all for your support and everyone involved. Thank you for your support and support from around the day. At this time, I was diagnosed with an emergency return from Australia as a bad condition, and I have a diagnosis of “leukemia.”

“Myself, I still can’t believe it, and it’s a confused situation. But if you do a solid treatment, it’s also a disease that will heal. As a schedule for the future, I have to give up the competition of the Japanese Championship. Now I’m going to take a little rest and devote myself to treatment.”

According to an article that appeared in The Japan Times, the 18-year old is currently hospitalized after the disease was found in the early stages. The swimmer had been training down in Australia, but cut the trip short after chronic fatigue and poor results in training.

“I had never seen her breathing as heavily as that,” her coach, Jiro Miki shared with The Japan Times. “We took her to a local hospital to check her blood and heart but decided to return to Japan as quickly as possible to undergo further tests,” he elaborated. “But as for her motivation to beat this disease, I can only bow my head at her determination.”

Ikee will be skipping the upcoming National Championships in April, which serve as Japan’s qualifying meet for the 2019 World Championships, in order to undergo treatment for the disease.

“I will rest a little and dedicate myself to treatment,” the swimmer said. “I will strive to show you an even stronger version of myself. Thank you for your encouragement and warm thoughts.”

Ikee is the national record holder in the 50, 100, and 200 free and 50 and 100 fly, and was named the MVP of the 2018 Asian Games after winning six gold medals, all in record time.

Olympian and world record holder Sarah Sjostrom was one of the first international swimmers to throw support behind Ikee, posting on her Instagram account that her “eyes are filled with tears” reading the news of her friend’s diagnosis, and that she was “Sending all my strength and love to you!”

View this post on Instagram

ニュースを知って、ただただ驚いた。なんて言えばいいのか本当にわからないけど、今はとにかく治療に専念して欲しい。東京五輪に向けてって言う人もいるかも知れないけど今はそこに向けて戦うのではないと思う。何より健康、体調が最優先。 世界の最前線で戦ってるリカコなら病気にも圧勝してくれるって信じてる。 しっかり治してまた素敵な笑顔を見せてください。 リカコが休養してる競泳チームが弱くなったって思われないように頑張るね。 日本中が、世界中のスイマーが応援してるよ so sad news about my teammate Rikako being diagnosed with leukemia. We are all supporting and thinking of you Sending prayers and wishes to @ikee.rikako from Team Elite

A post shared by Ryosuke Irie (@ryosuke_irie) on

The Japan Times contributed to this report.


  1. Charlene Tallen

    I hope she can have a full recovery and come back even stronger than before 🦋

  2. Donovon O

    Damn…SHE looks soo Healthy….
    All the Best n Blessed Be…

  3. Helen Keyes

    Get better soon xx

  4. Kristi Sprinkle Hall

    Prayers for her and her family is she faces cancer.

  5. Larissa Al-Uar


  6. Catriona McCole

    Wishing her a speedy recovery. X

  7. Teddy Axas

    Get well soon

  8. Bob McKeon

    Terrible – good luck – god bless

  9. Jairo Waiswol

    ABRALE – Associação Brasileira de Linfoma e LeucemiaMerula Anargyrou Steagall

  10. Liu Kwok Kuen

    Speedy and complete recovery from the disease
    Pray for her !

  11. Rick Farris

    Prayers for her speedy and healthy recovery! Hopefully, she will come back as strong as ever.

  12. Melanie Loo


  13. Peter Sabbe

    Get well soon !

  14. Francis Seugi

    🙏🙏🙏🙏Praying to your recovery champion

  15. Dilek Newlon

    Wishing her a full recovery. 🙏🏻

  16. Judy Arroyo


  17. avatar

    My 1.5 year daughter last year diagnosed leukemia..i was a swimmer also and i know what is that. Hang on sister everything will be fine. We are praying for you

  18. Nancy Pa Tucker

    Speedy recovery I have leukemia A.L.L. And beat it so can you

  19. Donna Pim

    Wishing you a speedy recovery xxx and love through this awful illness

  20. Aley McClung Minton

    Prayers for her, her medical team, and healing!

  21. Rob Duguay

    Speedy Recovery

  22. Tara Mack


    • Swimax William Reynaga

      La natación además se vio conmovida por lo de Adrian , Pernille Blume y el italiano Manuel Bortuzzo. Que todos ellos se mejoren.

  23. Tina Marie Greco

    Get well Rikako! Praying for you in Anaheim

  24. Adrian Hyland

    Horrendous news! Thoughts & prayers with you and your family Rikako.