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Akira Toriyama Dies: ‘Dragon Ball’ Creator & Manga Artist Was 68

Akira Toriyama, the influential manga artist who created the Dragon Ball anime franchise, died March 1 due to an acute subdural hematoma — blood clots on the brain that usually form after an injury. He was 68.

A statement from his Bird Studio said it was “deeply saddened” to report that he had passed on.

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“It’s our deep regret that he still had several works in the middle of creation with great enthusiasm,” the statement added. “Also, he would have many more things to achieve. However, he has left many manga titles and works of art to this world.”

Toriyama’s most famous work was manga series Dragon Ball, which follows Son Goku, a man who goes from failing martial arts student to a globe-trotting master with powers that defeats all manner of villains while searching for seven Dragon Ball orbs. It was inspired by the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West.

The initial manga comics were first published in 1984 and ran until 1995. Toei Animation adapted the stories into two series, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, and has made numerous feature films and specials based on the franchise since then. It is one of the highest-grossing media properties, spanning lucrative trading card games, collectibles, toys, sound tracks and video games.

The franchise made Toriyama one of the most-loved and best-known manga artists of all time.

“Thanks to the support of so many people around the world, he has been able to continue his creative activities for over 45 years,” said Bird Studio, which he founded in 1983. “We hope that Akira Toriyama’s unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come.”

A small funeral service with his family and “very few relatives” has been held, Studio Bird said, adding it would not accept flowers or condolence gifts and asked the press to refrain from conducting interviews with his family. Future plans for a commemoration have not been decided yet.

“We deeply thank you for your understanding and support as always.”

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