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The man who puzzle lovers can credit for creating the game that makes us fill out a 9-by-9 grid with numbers, has died.

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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.

Sudoku creator dies

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.