Obituaries

Akira Toriyama, Japanese creator of 'Dragon Ball,' dies at 68

Toriyama, whose "Dragon Ball" comic series began in 1984 and sold millions of copies globally, was widely influential on Japanese anime.

Akira Toriyama
Kyodo News via AP

Akira Toriyama, the Japanese creator behind the "Dragon Ball" comic series and other works, has died at 68.

His studio, Bird Studio, said Toriyama died on March 1 due to acute subdural hematoma, which is a blood clot in the brain.

"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," said Bird Studio.

Toriyama, whose "Dragon Ball" manga series began in 1984 and sold millions of copies globally, according to The Associated Press, was widely influential on Japanese anime.

His studio said he had other projects in the works when he died.

"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," Bird Studio said.

Charles Sykes / Invision / AP

Messages of condolences and celebrations of Toriyama's legacy poured in across social media.

"Rest In Peace Akira Toriyama. I'm thankful for all the moments you gave me as a child. I remember we use to rush home every afternoon to watch your 'Master Piece' and all we wanted to hear was 'last time on Dragon Ball,'" said X user @JrChueu.

Another X user, @Asta486003, said he "wouldn't be who he is without [Dragon Ball Z], adding that "me and my brother bonded over and joined anime together with this show."

Eiichiro Oda, the creator behind popular manga "One Piece," spoke out on Toriyama's influence saying his presence was like a "big tree" to younger artists, according to a statement obtained by AP.

"He showed us all these things manga can do, a dream of going to another world," Oda said in a statement. His death leaves "a hole too big to fill," Oda said.

A television adaptation of Toriyama's "Sand Land," which debuted in 2000 and was made into an anime movie last year, is set to be released on Disney+ this spring.