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‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ creator Takahashi Kazuki, 60, found dead at sea

“Yu-Gi-Oh!” creator Takahashi Kazuki was found dead in the waters off the coast of Okinawa Island, Japan, on Wednesday. He was 60.

Kazuki’s body was discovered about 1,000 feet offshore at about 10:30 a.m. local time, an official with the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Okinawa told NBC News.

Local police had also discovered an abandoned rental car at a nearby beach. Once they determined Kazuki had rented the vehicle, they contacted his family to confirm the body was him. He was identified Thursday.

Kazuki was wearing snorkeling equipment when he was found, according to the Coast Guard. He was traveling alone.

Kazuki Takahashi at the Leipzig Book Fair in 2005.
Kazuki Takahashi at the Leipzig Book Fair in 2005.Peter Endig / EPA / Shutterstock

The Coast Guard also said there were “damages to his body which looked like they were caused by some sort of marine animal.”

Kazuki’s agency, Studio Dice, turned the artist’s web page black following his death.

Kazuki, whose real name is Takahashi Kazuo, and is also known as Kazumasa, started as a manga artist in the early 1980s, but it was “Yu-Gi-Oh!” manga for boys he created in 1996 that brought him success. The series focuses on a boy who solves an ancient puzzle and awakens in himself a gaming alter-ego.

The manga spawned a hit TV anime series and an animated film.

Even more significantly, it led to the creation of a trading card game in which players battle against each other. Intended as a one-off, the game became a worldwide phenomenon with national and international competitions. It was certified in 2009 by the Guinness Book of Records as the trading card game with the world’s highest sales.

On Thursday, the hashtag #RIPLegend was dedicated to Kazuki.

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