Dragon Ball: Japan manga creator Akira Toriyama dies

 The iconic creator of Dragon Ball, one of the most influential and beloved Japanese manga series of all time, has passed away at the age of 68.

Akira Toriyama succumbed to an acute subdural hematoma, a form of bleeding near the brain, as announced by his studio on Friday.

Dragon Ball enjoys immense popularity worldwide, with its manga series spawning animated adaptations and films.

Fans worldwide have expressed their gratitude to Mr. Toriyama for crafting characters that have become cherished parts of their childhood memories.

Debuting in 1984, the Dragon Ball manga follows the adventures of Son Goku as he endeavors to gather mystical dragon balls to safeguard Earth against alien foes known as Saiyans.

At the time of his passing, Mr. Toriyama had unfinished projects.

His funeral, held on March 1st, was attended only by close family and a select few friends, according to a statement from the Dragon Ball website.

"While he had much more to accomplish, he leaves behind a legacy of manga and artistic creations," his studio remarked.

"We hope that Akira Toriyama's distinctive creative universe continues to be cherished by fans for generations to come," they added.

Fans have flooded social media with messages of condolence.

"Thank you for creating a manga that defined my youth. Rest in peace, and thank you for your dedication," one post on X garnered immediate attention with 500 likes.

"It's heartbreaking, too soon," expressed another user on X.

"His influence will endure eternally. Thank you for birthing the most iconic anime character ever, Akira," wrote another admirer.

Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1955, Mr. Toriyama gained recognition in the early 1980s with his work Dr. Slump, featuring the adventures of a young girl robot named Arale and her inventor.

However, Dragon Ball catapulted him to worldwide fame. For many fans, Son Goku's evolution from a novice martial artist to a formidable hero resonates with their own journey through self-doubt into adulthood.

Dragon Ball has inspired countless fan works and cosplayers who emulate the characters' distinctive hairstyles.

The animated series has been translated into numerous languages, and Dragon Ball action figures are ubiquitous in toy stores across Asia.

Reflecting on Dragon Ball's global success in a 2013 interview with the Japanese newspaper Asahi, Mr. Toriyama confessed he was amazed by its popularity.

Describing the series as a "miracle," he credited it for helping him, despite his introverted nature, to connect with society and make a meaningful contribution.

"When I was creating the series, my only aim was to bring joy to Japanese boys," he remarked, as reported by the news agency AFP.

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