On November 15, Japanese news agencies reported that Leiji Matsumoto was admitted to a hospital in Italy, where he was placed into the intensive care unit. It was originally suspected that the artist suffered a stroke, after falling ill at the Cinema Massimo, where a screening of Galaxy Express 999 was taking place as part of a celebration of the TV series’ 40th anniversary of its premiere on Italian TV. Earlier in the day, the artist attended a design meeting for IAAD students at Turin’s Central Market. He returned to his hotel room after lunch, as he had expressed fatigue, but still wanted to attend the screening.
According to other sources, Matsumoto began to “speak inarticulately” during the event, prompting the staff to take him back to his hotel.
It was reported that Matsumoto did not suffer a stroke, though Matsumoto was intibated with a breathing tube.
Leiji Matsumoto was born on January 25, 1938, in Japan’s Fukuoka ward. He had his first story, Michibachi no Bōken, published in 1953, and made his grand debut in 1971, with Otoko Oidon, a title that chronicled the life of a ronin.
Through his career, Matsumoto has written stories for numerous prominent anime works, including Planet Robot Danguard Ace, Starzinger, and Gun Frontier. Moreover, though, he has written several iconic space operas and science fiction stories, including Space Battleship Yamato, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Queen Emeraldas, and Galaxy Express 999.
Through his career, Matsumoto has earned numerous accolades, including the Medal with Purple Ribbon (2001), the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Rosette (2010), and a decoration from the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2012).
Sources: Asahi Shimbun