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‘Dragon Ball’ creator Akira Toriyama dies at 68

His influence was felt in the manga, TV and video game worlds.
Japanese manga artist Akira Toriyama
Japanese manga creator Akira Toriyama in 1982. JIJI Press / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Akira Toriyama, a giant in the manga book genre who created favorites such as "Dragon Ball," has died at age 68.

He died March 1 from an acute subdural hematoma, his production company, Bird Studio, announced Friday, March 8. The Cleveland Clinic defines a subdural hematoma as bleeding near the brain typically caused after sustaining a head injury.

Toriyama is behind comics “Dragon Ball” and its star character Son Goku, “Dr. Slump” and “Sand Land.” The universes extend to TV series, video games and movies.

“Dragon Ball” is the most popular of the group, selling more than 260 million copies worldwide. It features Son Goku on a quest for seven magical balls that can turn his dreams into reality.

Toriyama worked in the field for more than 45 years and had new works in progress, Bird Studio said in a statement posted online.

"He would have many more things to achieve," the studio said. "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."

Toriyama's publisher, Shueisha, celebrated his work and life in a statement posted online in Japanese that NBC News translated to English.

"All of us at Shueisha’s editorial department are deeply saddened by this sudden news of his passing," the statement said. "The manga he depicted such as 'Dr. Slump,' 'Dragon Ball,' and 'Sand Land' have been read and loved all over the world transcending borders. His characters and his overwhelming sense of design have greatly influenced many manga artists and creators. We would like to express our gratitude to him for his great achievements and pray for his soul and that he rests in peace."

Toriyama’s body of work also included designing characters for the “Dragon Quest” video game series.

Tributes are pouring in on social media from Toriyama’s fans.

"If only (or maybe he did) Akira Toriyama knew on how much he TRULY impacted the world and millions upon millions of us within it through his legendary work, would he only then understand on how much this hurts … thanking him simply doesn’t feel like it’s enough," one person posted on X.