Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama dies aged 68

The creator of the Dragon Ball manga series Akira Toriyama has died at the age of 68.

The Japanese artist and author died on March 1 of acute subdural hematoma  – pressure from bleeding in the brain – his website said on Friday.

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Dragon Ball Z booth at New York Comic Con (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

A statement from Bird Studio read: “It’s our deep regret that he still had several works in the middle of creation with great enthusiasm.

“Also, he would have many more things to achieve. However, he has left many manga titles and works of art to this world.

“Thanks to the support of so many people around the world, he has been able to continue his creative activities for over 45 years.

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

His Dragon Ball series began in 1984 and spawned various TV series, games and films by focusing on the story of a monkey-tailed boy called Son Goku who goes on various adventures in search of seven magical balls while defeating the villains who get in his way.

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The cover of Dragon Ball (Bird Studio/SHUEISHA via AP)

Born in Nagoya in 1955, his first works first appeared in 1978 in the manga section of the Japanese magazine Weekly Shonen Jump.

A series, Dr Slump, about a female robot, Arale Norimaki, living in Penguin Village was his first hit before beginning the Dragon Ball series.

The sequel to the original series, Dragon Ball Z, also introduced Goku’s son Gohan, and the 2022 film continued this story with Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero by seeing him team-up with his father’s old rival Piccolo.

Various characters including alien villains Vegeta and Frieza take their names from the words linked to food. In the case of these two names they echo the words for vegetable and freezer.

In 2019, Toriyama was made a French knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and was announced as a 2024 winner of Tokyo Anime Award Festival’s lifetime achievement honour along with Dragon Ball voice actor Toshio Furukawa.

Toriyama’s website statement also said: “We inform you this sad news, with gratefulness for your kindness during his lifetime.

“Funeral service was held with his family and very few relatives. Following his wishes for tranquillity, we respectfully inform you that we would not accept flowers, condolences gifts, visiting, offerings and others.”

His family have asked for privacy, and a “commemorative gathering” is planned.