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Veteran manga author and artist Takao Saito, the creator of the long-running hugely popular Golgo 13, has passed away from pancreatic cancer. He was 84 years old.
As reported by Yahoo News Japan, the celebrated creator passed away on September 24.
Saito was born in 1936 in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan. His debut as a manga artist came in 1955 with Kuuki Danshaku. He drew it while working as a barber..
Of course Saito's most well-known work is Golgo 13. The story of a legendary hitman (Togo) and his many targets and misadventures, Golgo 13 was first published in 1968 and just recently became the longest-running ongoing manga series of all-time with an incredible 200 collected volumes. The series celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.
Unsurprisingly considering the amount of time it's been around, Golgo 13 is also an incredibly popular manga. It's the second best-selling series of all time next to Eiichiro Oda's One Piece. In 2003, the Japanese government awarded Saito with a Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon for his contribution to the arts.
Back in 2013, Saito admitted that he often feared the series would be cancelled at any moment, and so planned a comprehensive finale for Togo in his head.
"I always get questions about the final episode, and it has always been in my head," Saito said earlier this year. "I just don't know when it will see the light of day."
According to Golgo 13 publisher Shogakuan, Saito had already arranged for the story to continue in his absence. A number of editors and scriptwriters from the artist's company, Saito Production, have been drafted in to help continue the series and allow Saito's impressive legacy to live on.
Featured Image Credit: Takao Saito