Kazuki Takahashi, creator of Yu-Gi-Oh! the manga and the collectible card game are dead. He was 60 years old.
According to Japanese authorities, Takahashi died of unknown causes while scuba diving. A Japan Coast Guard spokesman said his body was found on Wednesday off the coast of Nago in Okinawa Prefecture. according to the New York Times.
The Coast Guard was first alerted to the scene by hikers who discovered the body before noon. Takahashi was found wearing snorkeling gear 1,000 feet from shore. according to NBC News.
When police determined that a rental car abandoned on a local beach belonged to him, they contacted Takahashi’s family, who identified the body on Thursday.
Authorities are now investigating the cause of his death, and family, fans and colleagues around the world are mourning the monumental loss.
Takahashi, whose real name was Kazuo, left behind a legacy spanning five decades. When he started creating manga in 1982, titles like “Warhawk” didn’t resonate with the public. according to Kotaku. But in 1996, “Yu-Gi-Oh!” broke through.
The serialized manga follows a young bully with magical powers who defies rivals during endless adventures across the land. While “Yu-Gi-Oh!” originally conceived as a one-off, it ran for eight years in Japanese comic magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump.
However, Takahashi had an impressive talent for expansion and also developed a collectible card game that was featured in the manga itself. Produced by world famous video game company Konami, the cards debuted in Japan in 1999 and appeared in the US in 2002.
“Yu-Gi-Oh!” became such a phenomenon that the manga sold tens of millions of copies, and maps sold tens of billions. This has led to a spate of long-running anime shows, movies, and video games. The last Master Duel game was released in early 2022 and was downloaded 30 million times in the first three months.
The ingenious move in which his characters play the card game in most of these spin-offs only made Takahashi’s source material more popular. Collectible “Yu-Gi-Oh!” Collectible cards are second only to Pokemon cards and continue to generate billions in revenue for Konami.