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

Nago, Japan - Manga fans are reeling after the shocking news that Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi was found dead in the waters off Nago in the Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.

Players compete at the premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie in Los Angeles in 2004.
Players compete at the premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie in Los Angeles in 2004.  © KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

As the Japanese outlet NHK reported, the coast guard discovered the 60-year-old's lifeless body on Wednesday, in what appears to have been a snorkeling accident. Takahashi was reportedly wearing a snorkel mask and fins at the time of his death.

An autopsy will be conducted and the Nago City Police have launched an investigation to determine the exact cause of the beloved artist's tragic end.

Takahashi had a long and distinguished career that started all the way back in 1982. His big breakthrough came in 1996 with a creation that would soon turn into a global phenomenon.

Kim Kardashian and Tristan Thompson host "inspiring" Friendsgiving feast
Kim Kardashian Kim Kardashian and Tristan Thompson host "inspiring" Friendsgiving feast

Yu-Gi-Oh! began as a comic book series and its huge popularity led to several spin-offs, one more successful than the other. First came an anime TV show based on the comics, then a trading card game produced by Konami that took the world by storm, eventually setting a Guinness World Record for sales in 2009.

A movie produced by Warner Bros. was also released in 2004.

Fans mourn the loss of Kazuki Takahashi

Reactions to Takahashi's completely unexpected passing have flooded the internet. Even before the few details available about the case emerged, numerous dismayed fans were expressing their grief on social media, in a sign of just how deeply influential he was in so many lives.

"Rest in Peace, Kazuki Takahashi-sensei. Your manga has always and will always continue to inspire us for generations to come. We will take the messages you imparted onto the world through your art and live with them until we see you again," a fan account on Twitter wrote.

Another fan published Takahashi's postscript to the final volume of Yu-Gi-Oh!, a poignant and touching explanation of the ideas behind his work that ends with a thank you to the fans who embraced it all.

Cover photo: KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

More on the topic Gaming: