Yu-Gi-Oh! creator died while attempting to rescue drowning swimmers, US military says

Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh!
(Image credit: Konami)

The United States military says Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi, whose death was reported in July, was killed while attempting to assist in the rescue of three people who were caught in a rip current in a popular diving spot near Okinawa.

A report published by the US military news outlet Stars and Stripes says the incident took place on July 4, when Major Robert Bourgeau of the 10th Support Group at Torii Station, who is also a scuba instructor, spotted a woman calling for help for her 11-year-old daughter and a US soldier. The pair had become trapped in a rip current, apparently while snorkeling about 100 meters from the shore.

Bourgeau and one of his scuba students moved through shallow water to attempt a rescue; he was able to bring out the girl and her mother, who had also been pulled into the current, while the soldier was ultimately able to reach the shore on his own.

"The conditions were really, really rough," Bourgeau said.

Somewhere during all of this, the 60-year-old Takahashi entered the water in order to assist with the rescue. Bourgeau said he didn't see the Yu-Gi-Oh! creator, but his students did, multiple times, until he disappeared under the water. The Japanese Coast Guard would not confirm the report, but Stars and Stripes said Takahashi's actions were detailed in "several sworn witness statements provided by the Army."

"He's a hero," Bourgeau said. "He died trying to save someone else."

Bourgeau has been nominated for the Soldier's Medal for his role in the rescue.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.