Kentaro Miura, a Japanese manga author known for his popular dark fantasy Berserk, has died at 54, his publisher announced yesterday, prompting an outpouring of grief from fans around the world. His best-known creation Berserk debuted as a series in 1989 and featured a journey of revenge by a young warrior travelling through a medieval-inspired universe. Praised for its intricate illustrations, it has been cited as an inspiration by numerous authors and creators of comics and video games around the world.

Miura died on May 6, Berserk publisher Hakusensha said in a statement. "All us editors sincerely pray for his repose, expressing our deepest respect and appreciation for his work," the Japanese firm said, adding that Miura's family had already held a private funeral. News of his death was received with shock by fans. "I can't even begin to express how devastated I am about the passing of Kentaro Miura," tweeted video game host and interviewer Kelly Link.

"Berserk is an incredible epic that will live for generations as one of the greatest stories ever told and only to be equally matched by its absolutely breathtaking art." Canadian art director Pascal Blanche praised Miura in a tweet as "author of one of the best manga that have ever existed". There are currently 40 volumes of Beserk, with more than 50 million copies in circulation in a dozen countries including the United States and Friday. The most recent was published in Japan in 2018.

It was also adapted into an animated series, a book, animated movies as well as a video game. "Miura-sensei was a master artist and storyteller and we had the great privilege of publishing several of his finest works, including his masterpiece, Berserk," tweeted American publisher Dark Horse Comics. "He will be greatly missed." - AFP