Kazuki Takahashi, the artist behind the hit manga series “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” was found dead in the sea in Okinawa, Japan.
Takahashi, 60, was reportedly found wearing snorkeling gear and floating about 1,000 feet offshore the coast of Nago at about 10:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday.
Local police reportedly found an abandoned rental car at a nearby beach in Onna village. Police confirmed that Takahashi had rented the vehicle. He was traveling alone, according to the Japan Coast Guard.
Takahashi was found with injuries to his abdomen and lower body that are believed to have been caused by marine animals.
Authorities are currently investigating the cause of his death.
The 60-year-old artist’s success came in 1996 when his manga series “Yu-Gi-Oh!” was first published in the comic magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. The series, which means “King of Games,” follows the story of a boy named Yugi Mutou, who solves an ancient puzzle and becomes possessed by an ancient spirit that helps him challenge bad guys in magical high-stakes Shadow Games.
The manga ran for eight years and spawned a renowned media franchise that includes TV and movie adaptations, spin-off series, video games and a popular trading card game that has sold billions of cards worldwide. The card game was certified by the Guinness Book of Records in 2009 as the world’s best-selling trading card game.
Takahashi recently collaborated with Marvel to create a full-length manga novel called “Marvel’s Secret Reverse,” starring characters Iron Man and Spider-Man.