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Neighbours boss pays tribute to star after heartbreaking death episode

Neighbours spoilers follow from Thursday's episode (February 1).

Neighbours boss Jason Herbison has paid tribute to actor Takaya Honda following the shock death of his character David Tanaka.

Takaya, who has starred as David since 2016, returned to the popular Australian soap for the 2023 revival. However, David met his untimely demise in recent scenes which saw him and Eden Shaw fall off the edge of a cliff following a brawl between Eden and Leo Tanaka.

Both clinging to life, David made the selfless decision when help arrived to advise them to seek medical attention for Eden first.

embargo 0730 31012024 leo tanaka, eden shaw and david tanaka in neighbours
Amazon Freevee / FremantleMedia Australia

Related: Neighbours stars feared David and Aaron's steamy scene would be censored

When David's husband Aaron Brennan and Leo returned to help David, they discovered that he had already passed away after downplaying his own injuries.

Following the heartbreaking scenes, Neighbours executive producer Jason Herbison paid tribute to the actor and explained why David's death was crucial to his exit.

"Takaya is a valued member of the Neighbours cast and a friend to many of us on the show. Even prior to our big ‘finale’, Takaya had given us plenty of notice that he was planning to leave," he told TV Tonight.

"In creating this new chapter, we felt it was crucial to see David, Aaron and Nicolette together as a modern family unit once more, before we formulated a story that would allow the others to stay if David left. In soap tradition, that meant a tragic death."

matt wilson as aaron brennan, hana abe tucker as isla tanaka brennan, takaya honda as david tanaka, hannah monson as nicolette stone, neighbours
Amazon Freevee / Ray Messner

Related: Neighbours star Hannah Monson reveals Nicolette's death fears in tragic week

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy about David's exit, Takaya opened up on his return to the show and his heartbreaking exit.

"When the show was announced as coming back, Neighbours basically asked me if I would be interested in returning," he said.

"I said to them, like I had for the past eight years, that it would all depend on the story and I basically said: 'What have you got?'

embargo 0730 01022024 krista sinclair, aaron brennan and leo tanaka in neighbours
Amazon Freevee / FremantleMedia Australia

"I wanted to come back and actually finish David off properly because obviously at the end of the last season in 2022, everything had to wrap up and they'd wanted David and Aaron to have a nice ending to finish it off that way.

"For David's return, they pitched this storyline almost in its totality – at least in terms of what happens towards the death moment – and I loved it."

Neighbours releases new episodes from Mondays to Thursdays for free on Amazon Freevee in the UK and US. In Australia, the show airs from Mondays to Thursdays at 4pm on Channel 10, with a 6.30pm repeat screening on 10 Peach.

Read more Neighbours coverage on our dedicated homepage

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