Sad news from this weekend, as legendary anime director/designer Toyoo Ashida passed away on Saturday, July 23 at the age of 67.
The report of Ashida's passing came from animators Atsuko Watanabe and Hiroshi Koujina. The late Toyoo Ashida served as director on projects ranging from film to video and television, the latter work including two Fist of the North Star series and Kuso Kagaku Sekai Gullivery Boy. He also directed The World of Narue, the Fist of the North Star movie and the Vampire Hunter D OVA, among others.
Ashida has a wealth of character design credit under his belt, as well, including Cyborg 009 (1979), UFO Senshi Daiapolon, various Fairy Princess Minky Momo projects and Gulliver Boy. As founder and president of Studio Live—established in 1976—Ashida became the mentor of Watanabe, Koujina and many other animators. He also co-founded the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) labor group in 2007, serving as its president.
UPDATE: Some great additional info on Ashida in this Manga UK piece by Jonathan Clements