The creator of one of the most popular manga series of all time has died.

Akira Toriyama was both the writer and artist of Dragon Ball starting in 1984. It has spawned an ongoing multimedia franchise across numerous art forms. Sadly, Toriyama passed away on March 1 from an acute subdural hematoma. Toriyama was only 68 years old. A private funeral has already been held for his family.

press release from his company confirmed the news, noting “it’s our deep regret that he still had several works in the middle of creation ... however he has left many manga titles and works of art to this world.”

“We hope that Akira Toriyama’s unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come.”

Dragon Ball Super Series Production Start
Toei Animation

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Born in Japan in 1955, Yoriyama was a fan of art and drawing from childhood and began working as a professional manga artist in his early 20s. After several early successes, he began Dragon Ball in 1984. The original series ran for over a decade, selling millions of copies. The enormous popularity of the original Dragon Ball comics led to numerous animated series, as well as movies, cards, video games, action figures, and endless amounts of merchandise. Dragon Ball remains one of the biggest manga and anime franchises in the world to this day.

The widespread popularity and influence of Dragon Ball and the animated Dragon Ball Z makes Toriyama’s death international news. According to NBC News, the Japanese government even commented upon his passing, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi saying the government was "deeply saddened by the news” and that his work "served as an opportunity for Japanese content to be widely recognized around the world, leading to an increase in inbound tourism.”

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Gallery Credit: Emma Stefansky