Maki Kaji, the puzzle maker who developed the numbers game Sudoku, died at the age of 69 from bile duct cancer on Aug. 10, The Associated Press reported.
Kaji was known as the “Godfather of Sudoku,” and made the puzzle to be easy for children and those who didn’t want to put too much brainpower into completing the grid.
Sudoku comes from two Japanese characters — one for number and another for single. That’s exactly how the game is played; numbers are put in boxes, not repeated in the individual smaller 3-by-3 squares or the lines that comprise the bigger grid.
FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2007, file photo, Ronald Osher, of Stamford Conn., works on his puzzle in the final round during the Philadelphia Inquirer Sudoku National Championship in Philadelphia. Maki Kaji, known as the “Godfather of Sudoku,” the numbers puzzle he created that’s drawn fans around the world, has died, a spokesman for his Japanese company said Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. He was 69.(AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek, File)
It became popular worldwide in 2004 when a person in New Zealand gave the idea of the game to the British newspaper The Times, the AP reported.
More than 200 million people in 100 countries have taken part in Sudoku championships over the years.
Over the years, the original pencil puzzle has evolved into digital versions.
Kaji was the chief executive officer at his puzzle company Nikoli Co. until July. He started Japan’s first puzzle magazine after dropping out of university. He founded Nikoli in 1983 and developed Sudoku around the same time.
Kaji said his life’s work was to spread the joy of puzzles, the AP reported.
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This undated photo provided by NIKOLI, shows Maki Kaji, chief executive of the company until July, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Kaji, known as the “Godfather of Sudoku,” the numbers puzzle he created that’s drawn fans around the world, has died, a spokesman for his Japanese company said Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. He was 69. (NIKOLI via AP)
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FILE PHOTO Sunni Welles (L) speaks during a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred (R) March 27, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. Welles, who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault when she was 17, died this week at the age of 72.
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Bobby Bowden who took Florida State football from the bottom of the standings to become a perennial powerhouse, winning two National Championships, has died at 91.
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James Rodney Richard, whose promising major league career was cut short by a stroke in 1980, died Aug. 4. He was 71.
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Robby Steinhardt of Kansas during a break while filming a music video June 1, 1982, in Los Angeles. According to The Associated Press, Steinhardt died about 6:30 p.m. July 17, 2021, at a Florida hospital, where he was being treated for pancreatitis complications.
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Actor Charlie Robinson accepts his award for ‘Lead Actor in a Play’ at the 2006 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards at the Orpheum Theatre on Nov. 13, 2006, in Los Angeles, California. The veteran stage and screen actor, best known for his role as Mac on the sitcom “Night Court,” died Sunday, July 11, 2021, at the age of 75.
(Photo by Ryan Miller/Getty Images)
"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during ceremonies at Universal Amphitheatre in 2005. Orndorff died Monday, July 12, 2021, at the age of 71, his son confirmed via social media. (Photo by Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images)
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Director Richard Donner is pictured in this file photo on set of 1982’s “The Toy.” The prolific director-producer died Monday, July 5, 2021, at the age of 91.
FILE PHOTO: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attends a wreath laying ceremony with former President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Mark Esper on the grounds of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in observance of the 18th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Rumsfeld’s family announced Wednesday that the former Secretary of Defense had died at the age of 88.
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Pictured from left to right are Clarence Williams III, Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole of ‘The Mod Squad’ in this 1968 stick photo. Williams, who became a household name playing Lincoln ‘Linc’ Hayes on ABC’s ‘The Mod Squad,’ died Friday, June 4, 2021, of colon cancer at the age of 81.
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FILE PHOTO: Mark Eaton, a defensive giant for the Utah Jazz, is dead after a bicycle accident Friday night. He was 64.
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Photo of Paul Mooney circa 1970. The comedy legend died Tuesday, May 19, 2021, at the age of 79 following a heart attack at his Oakland, California, home.
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British actress Helen McCrory, known for her roles in the Harry Potter series of movies and the show Peaky Blinders, has died. She was 52.
Lee Aaker, a child actor in the 1950s who starred as the orphan Rusty alongside a German shepherd on "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin," died April 1. He was 77.
FILE PHOTO: In this March 10, 2009, file photo, former financier Bernie Madoff exits federal court in Manhattan, in New York. Authorities said he died of natural causes while serving time in federal prison.
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FILE- DMX performs during the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta on Oct. 1, 2011. The family of rapper DMX says he has died at age 50 after a career in which he delivered iconic hip-hop songs such as “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem." A statement from the family says the Grammy-nominated rapper died at a hospital in White Plains, New York, "with his family by his side.
FILE – In this Wednesday July 22, 2020 file photo, Britain’s Prince Philip arrives for a ceremony for the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles from himself to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at Windsor Castle, England. Buckingham Palace said Prince Philip has died at the age of 99.
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Howard Schnellenberger led the University of Miami to its first national title during the 1983 season. He died March 27 He was 87.
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FILE PHOTO: Paul Ritter attends the "Friday Night Dinner" photocall at Curzon Soho on March 09, 2020 in London, England. The actor died April 5 of a brain tumor.
G. Gordon Liddy, best known for his role in the botched break-in at the Watergate complex in 1972, died March 30. He was 90.
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Bunny Wailer, the last standing member of the Bob Marley group, The Wailers, is pictured on stage in Paris the July 20, 2014. The reggae icon died Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at the age of 73.
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Singer Mary Wilson, a co-founder of legendary Motown group The Supremes, died Feb. 8, 2021, at age 76, multiple news outlets are reporting.
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FILE PHOTO: Hilton Valentine guitarist for British rock and roll band, The Animals, has died. He was 77. The photo shows the English rock band when they reformed in 1983 for a world tour. Clockwise from back left, is bassist Chas Chandler, guitarist Hilton Valentine, drummer John Steel, keyboard player Alan Price and singer Eric Burdon. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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FILE PHOTO: This Jan. 7, 1990, file photo shows President George H. W. Bush hiding behind his sister, Nancy Ellis, as he prepares for a jog along the C&O canal in the Georgetown section of Washington. A longtime Democrat who helped her Republican brother and nephew get elected president, died of complications of the coronavirus Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, at an assisted living facility in Concord, Massachusetts. She was 94.
Actor John Reilly is pictured holding his daughter, Caitlyn Reilly, when she was a child. The longtime soap opera actor died in early January 2021 of an undisclosed cause.
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FILE PHOTO: Actress Tanya Roberts arrives at the gala premiere of "Criss Angel Believe" by Cirque du Soleil at the Luxor Resort & Casino October 31, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The former Bond girl died Jan. 4 at the age of 65. Her death was confirmed after conflicting reports from her publicist and her companion.
FILE PHOTO – In this April 25, 1964 file photo, Gerry Marsden leaps over his band, the Pacemakers. Gerry Marsden, the British singer and lead singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers, who was instrumental in turning a song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel” into one of the great anthems in the world of football, has died. He was 78.
Hall of Fame basketball coach Paul Westphal died Jan. 2, the Phoenix Suns announced. He was 70.
Hall of Fame running back Floyd Little, who starred at Syracuse University and for the NFL’s Denver Broncos, died Jan. 1. He was 78.