Former Namco pixel artist Hiroshi Ono, also known as Mr Dotman, has died at the age of 64.
Ono joined Namco in 1979 as a graphic designer, contributing his work towards some of the company's most iconic arcade games. Along with providing cabinet artwork for Pac-Man, he is perhaps best known for his sprite work on the excellent Galaga and Dig Dug (thanks, VGC (opens in new tab)). Much of his early work went uncredited, but also provided art for the likes of Mappy, Xevious and New Rally-X.
Ono's career with Namco continued through its merger with Bandai in 2006 before he left in 2013 to pursue freelancing and independent projects, including running numerous pixel art workshops.
#Mrドットマン #小野浩 #クラウドファンディング を応援していただいた皆様へご報告です。 pic.twitter.com/2CPRU0pi5ZOctober 18, 2021
Earlier this month, a crowdfunding campaign (opens in new tab) for a movie about Ono's life and work was announced alongside news that the artist was suffering from health issues. The campaign page revealed that Ono had been in hospital since early October with suspected autoimmune hepatitis.
A statement from the Mr Dotman team was released on Twitter and Facebook this morning announcing that Ono had passed away on October 16, with a private funeral being held for friends and family. The team announced that they will be discussing the future of the crowdfunding project, which has already hit its goal, and will let backers know of any changes in the future.
Industry figures and fans of Ono's work have been flooding in to pay their respects, including Square Enix pixel artist Kazuko Shibuya (opens in new tab) and Streets of Rage composer Yuzo Koshiro. (opens in new tab)