Tribute to Yu-Gi-Oh Creator Who Drowned While Trying to Save Child, Mom And U.S. Soldier: ‘He’s A Hero’

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It became known recently that a Japanese anime icon risked all his fame and fortune to try and save a pair of drowning snorkelers.

Kazuki Takahashi, creator of the manga, anime, and trading card game Yu-Gi-Oh! was found to have died on July 4th from drowning during a rescue attempt off Okinawa Island, which did save an 11-year-old girl, her mom, and a 39-year-old U.S. soldier.

Tributes flooded social media for the “hero” Takahashi, alongside sworn statements from witnesses and fellow rescuer U.S. Army Major Robert Bourgeau of Missoula, Montana.

“This guy had a huge impact on the world,” said Bourgeau, 49. “He’s a hero, he died trying to save someone else.”

At around 2 PM, Bourgeau was getting read to teach a scuba-diving lesson at a popular swimming area called Mermaid’s Grotto, in Yomitan, when he was alerted to the girl and the soldier, who had been carried out in a rip current.

Bourgeau also recalled heavy 6-foot surf crashing on their heads, creating a whirlpool effect from which they couldn’t escape. Bourgeau and one of his students made their way towards them along a strip of shallow water, before the Major jumped in to rescue the girl, becoming completely exhausted in the process. He also encountered the girl’s mother, who had evidently tried to help and become trapped in the process.

It was at this point that witnesses saw Takahashi also enter the water, swimming out to the same spot to try and help, completely unbeknownst to Bourgeau.

Bourgeau managed to get the girl to safety, but returning to rescue his comrade proved too much. Turning back, he managed to direct the struggling soldier to safer waters.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” the 49-year-old said.

Takahashi’s body was later found on a beach in Nago City, the currents evidently had been too much for the 60-year-old as well.

Takahashi started his career in Manga, or Japanese comic books the 1980s, before creating the story of a kind, spikey haired teenage boy named Yugi Mutou, who finds a pyramid-shaped puzzle box in his grandfather’s antique shop that contained the soul of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who also happened to be grandmaster of a magical card game.

This later developed into an actual card game, and one of the most popular anime series in history.

“We will always remember him with every single card we play, trade or collect,” wrote one fan on twitter “R.I.P King of Games.”