April 5 (UPI) — Studio Ghibli co-founder, animator and director Isao Takahata died in Japan at the age of 82 on Thursday.
Takahata died in a hospital in Tokyo after having been repeatedly hospitalized for heart complications since last summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
His fifth and final film with Studio Ghibli The Tale of the Princess Kaguya was one of the most expensive Japanese films ever made, with a budget of $50 million and it earned a nomination for best animated feature film at the 2015 Oscars.
Takahata began his career as animator at Japan’s Toei Animation in 1959, where he met Hayao Miyazaki.
After Takahata’s 1961 directorial debut The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun became a financial flop, he and Miyazaki left Toei in 1971 to create the animated feature film Pippi Longstocking and later found Studio Ghibli.
One of Takahata’s most memorable and recognizable works was his first film at Studio Ghibli, Grave of the Fireflies.
The 1988 film told the story of two children struggling to survive at the end of World War II, reflecting Takahata’s own experience surviving a U.S. bombing of Okayama City when he was 9 years old.