TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Yu-Gi-Oh! manga creator Kazuki Takahashi was found dead in an apparent snorkeling accident in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan on July 6.
The Nago Coast Guard confirmed Takahashi’s identity July 7, according to reporting in NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. He was 60-years-old.
According to reporting by the Japan Times, Takahashi was “wearing a T-shirt and an underwater mask, snorkel and fins,” which they were told by an official in the city of Nago, Okinawa, Japan. The official declined to be named by the Japan Times.
The website for Studio Dice, Takahashi’s official production company, has temporarily gone dark following the artist’s death. The only message available on the site currently reads “This site is under pause. Resumption time is undecided. 休止中.”
Takahashi’s real name was Kazuo, the artist and writer used Kazuki as a pseudonym, according to reporting by NBC News, and started writing manga in the early 1980s. In 1996, Takahashi created the popular manga and eventual anime series Yu-Gi-Oh in 1996. The series ran in manga form in Shonen Jump magazine until 2004. After becoming an anime series in 1998, it expanded overseas and became a still-running franchise with multiple spinoffs.
The Japan Times reported the manga series “was later published as a series of 38 books by Japanese publishing powerhouse Shueisha,” The publishing company “did not issue any immediate statement on Takahashi’s death” according to JT.
Takahashi had a newer series out in the magazine called The Comiq, which debuted in 2019 in Shonen Jump. A consolidated set of chapters, called a volume in the comics and manga world, published on June 28.
According to reports in the New York Times, Takahashi’s body was found at 11:27 a.m. GMT on Wednesday by local Coast Guard in Naga, Okinawa, after reports from local tourists were made.
NBC News reported there were “damages to his body which looked like they were caused by some sort of marine animal,” according to the Coast Guard. NHK reports the Japan Coast Guard and police are still investigating Takahashi’s death.
Konami, the company that had published and distributed Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, released a statement on Twitter regarding Takahashi’s death reading:
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Mr. Kazuki Takahashi. We are deeply grateful for the wonderful “Yu-Gi-Oh!” universe that he has created, and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time. Together with his countless fans, we pledge to carry on the “Yu-Gi-Oh! legacy wit hall the love and care it deserves.”