Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi is dead at 60 The comic artist was discovered off the coast of Nago, Okinawa, Japan, wearing snorkeling gear. First published in 1996, the series he created became a worldwide sensation.

'Yu-Gi-Oh!' creator Kazuki Takahashi found dead

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JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

The popular Japanese comic book artist Kazuki Takahashi was found dead yesterday. He's the creator of the series Yu-Gi-Oh!, which gained worldwide popularity. According to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK, his body was found off the coast of Nago in Okinawa wearing snorkeling gear. He was 60. And as NPR's Andrew Limbong reports, his creation inspired a franchise that is still going strong today.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: In the new game, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, you draw cards to summon monsters and cast spells. The game just came out in January, and it's already been downloaded more than 30 million times, becoming a feather in the cap of the game's publisher, Konami.

Originally, Yu-Gi-Oh! had very little to do with using cards to summon monsters. Kazuki Takahashi was a horror fan, and the comic he first published in 1996 was about a young boy named Yugi who solves an ancient Egyptian puzzle and gets possessed by a dark spirit that helps Yugi confront bullies and bad guys with mystic games. The card monster fighting stuff got introduced later into the series, but it was so loved by fans...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "YU-GI-OH!")

DAN GREEN: (As Yugi Muto) Yu-Gi-Oh!

LIMBONG: ...That it became the focus of an anime that ran in the U.S. for six years...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "YU-GI-OH!")

GREEN: (As Yugi Muto) I've got to believe in the cards like my friends believe in me.

LIMBONG: ...And a trading card game that's sold billions of cards worldwide. The game's publisher, Konami, sent out a statement about Takahashi today, saying, quote, "together with his countless fans, we pledge to carry on the Yu-Gi-Oh! legacy with all the love and care it deserves." Andrew Limbong, NPR News.

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