The artist's body was discovered floating off the coast of Nago in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture.

Takahashi Kazuki, the Japanese artist and writer who created the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga series that launched an international fan craze, has died from unknown causes. He was 60.

As first reported by public broadcaster NHK and later confirmed with the Japanese Coast Guard by The New York Times, Kazuki's body was found floating off the coast of Nago in Okinawa Prefecture, located in southern Japan.

He seems to have been traveling alone and was snorkeling when he died, according to the Coast Guard.

Takahashi, also known as Kazuo Takahashi, began working as a manga artist in 1982. He didn't find fame until 1996, when he created Yu-Gi-Oh!, a manga comic about a spiky-haired boy named Yugi Mutou. The timid Yugi solves the ancient Millennium Puzzle, which awakens a mysterious spirit within him who likes to gamble and play the magical Shadow Games to determine the true nature of someone's heart.

'Yu-Gi-Oh' creator Takahashi Kazuki has died at the age of 60 from unknown causes.
| Credit: Everett Collection

The manga spawned an entire franchise, including the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game and the anime TV shows, movies, and video games. Yu-Gi-Oh! ended up rivaling even Pokemon in terms of popularity.

The card game on its own has generated billions of dollars over the years. According to Konami, which publishes Yu-Gi-Oh!, the latest video game that came out in January, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, had been downloaded more than 30 million times since April.

Takahashi continued to supervise the development of the manga, which frequently appeared on various best-seller lists. He received the Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International in 2015 in recognition for his outstanding contributions to comics, science-fiction and fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom.

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