Takahashi Kazuki, the creative force behind manga trading card and Japanese entertainment franchise Yu-Gi-Oh!, has been found dead, according to local public broadcaster NHK.
It was reported Takahashi, whose real name is Kazuo Takahashi, was discovered floating while in snorkeling gear in near Okinawa Prefecture in Japan on Wedensday. A coast guard is looking into the cause of death.
Takahashi began as a manga artist in the 1980s and found success in 1996 when he created manga comic series Yu-Gi-Oh! and began serializing it in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. He later outlined the rules for an accompanying trading card game.
The franchise grew to span several TV shows, manga spin-offs and video games and is now one of the highest-grossing off all time. Notably, the trading card game, in which players face off against each other, has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s best selling of its kind.
Takahashi has remained in charge of the manga’s direction through his Studio Dice imprint.
Just two weeks ago, he released Marvel’s Secret Reverse, a manga graphic novel created with Marvel starring Iron Man and Spider-Man.
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