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Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball creator and one of the most influential manga artists of all time, dies aged 68

 TOPSHOT - This black and white photo taken in May 1982 shows Japanese manga artist Akira Toriyama, whose death was announced on March 8, 2024. The creator of Japan's hugely popular and influential "Dragon Ball" comics and anime cartoons, Akira Toriyama, has died aged 68, his production team said on March 8, 2024.
TOPSHOT - This black and white photo taken in May 1982 shows Japanese manga artist Akira Toriyama, whose death was announced on March 8, 2024. The creator of Japan's hugely popular and influential "Dragon Ball" comics and anime cartoons, Akira Toriyama, has died aged 68, his production team said on March 8, 2024.

Akira Toriyama, whose career was so enormously impactful that using the word "legendary" somehow undersells it, has died at age 68. Toriyama died one week ago of an acute subdural hematoma, but the news was announced today following a small, private family funeral.

You've almost certainly watched, played, or read something Toriyama either created or helped create in the course of your life, and the odds are good that you loved it. As the creator of Dragon Ball, Toriyama was responsible for one of the most popular, long-lived, and influential anime series of all time, and remained involved in it right up to his death, including Dragon Ball Daima, a new series airing later this year.

Toriyama's legacy extends to videogames, too. Not content with moulding just one immortal piece of art, he helped shape two more, serving as character designer on Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Quest games. His designs for each have been woven into the fabric of both videogames and Japanese culture: You can find his iconic Dragon Quest slime all over Japan.

Given the towering significance of his work, it's no surprise that tributes have poured in from around the world as news of his death has spread. Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada, Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai, and countless other creatives have all sent condolences and issued statements on Toriyama's influence on their lives and work.

Meanwhile, fans have flooded social media with their own tributes to Toriyama's life and work, and even governments have said a few words about his passing. Japanese chief cabinet secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi offered the government's "heartfelt condolences on this day of mourning," while the Chinese foreign ministry expressed its "deep condolences over the death of Mr. Akira Toriyama and our sincere sympathy to his family".

Despite the enormous esteem in which he was held, Toriyama often depicted himself in a humorous, self-effacing light in his own work, describing himself—always in-character as a gas mask-wearing robot—as a "slacker" and habitual procrastinator who longed for simple pleasures and an easygoing lifestyle. Nevertheless, he remained indefatigably creative up to the end. The announcement of his death notes that "he still had several works in the middle of creation with great enthusiasm. Also, he would have many more things to achieve."