Kazuki Takahashi, Creator of the 'Yu-Gi-Oh' Manga Series, Dead at 60

Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of the Japanese manga series Yu-Gi-Oh, which spawned a trading card and video game empire, died at the age of 60.

The Japan Times reports that Takahashi’s body was found floating Wednesday morning while wearing snorkeling gear off the coast of Nago, a popular vacation destination, in Okinawa Prefecture. His cause of death is under investigation, coast guard officials said.

A manga artist since the early Eighties, Takahashi first gained global success with the serialized launch of his Yu-Gi-Oh! series in 1996. While the manga’s original run only lasted until 2004, the story — about a young boy attempting to solve an ancient puzzle — soon branched off into animated TV series, video games, actions figures, and, most notably, a trading card game that rivaled the popularity of Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering.

As Kotaku notes, since the arrival of Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game in the U.S. in 2002, the cards have grossed billions of dollars. New trading cards and animated series — which, with all of its spinoffs, have over 800 episodes — continue to be manufactured today, though Takahashi no longer had an active role in their production. 

For his impact on millions of childhoods, Takahashi received Comic-Con International’s Inkpot Award in 2015, honoring his contribution to manga, television, and fandom.

While trading card company Konami and the official Yu-Go-Oh Twitter have not yet commented on Takahashi’s death on social media, the manga creator’s Studio Dice website went black following news of his sudden passing. “This site is under pause. Resumption time is undecided,” it notes.

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