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Legendary Studio Ghibli director Isao Takahata dies aged 82

Isao Takahata, who was reportedly struggling with a heart condition, has passed away.

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Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

He was the co-founder of Studio Ghibli and the director of some of its most incredible, enduring movies, but Thursday Isao Takahata has died.

Takahata's career as an animator began in 1959, when he started at Toei Animation. He would later be promoted to director but his debut Hols: Prince of the Sun was a commercial failure and Takahata was demoted. 

In 1971 Takahata left Toei alongside Hayao Miyazaki to create Pippi Longstocking, an animated feature. Later they would go on to found Studio Ghibli, one of the most famous Japanese animation studios of all time.

Takahata's debut feature for Studio Ghibli was Grave of the Fireflies, released in 1988 alongside Miyazaki's My Neighbour Totoro. It remains one of the most visceral war movies ever made, animated or otherwise. It was inspired in part by his own real life experiences: At aged 9 Takahata survived a US air raid on Okoyama. 

More recently Takahata was Oscar nominated for The Tale of Princess Kaguya, which was released in 2013 to universal acclaim. It was the last movie he would direct.

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