According to local media, Takahata had been in declining health since last summer. A Studio Ghibli statement said he died of lung cancer.
Takahata joined Toei Animation after college and made his feature directing debut with the 1968 “Horus: Prince of the Sun.” In 1971 Takahata, together with Hayao Miyazaki and Yoichi Kotabe, left Toei for Shin-Ei Animation studio. His best-remembered TV work was “Heidi, Girl of the Alps,” that he directed for Nippon Animation.
In 1985, together with Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki, Takahata launched Studio Ghibli. His “Grave of the Fireflies,” was released together with Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro” in 1988. The two films did modest business, but later grew in esteem as classics of the animated form.
Takahata enjoyed greater success with “Pom Poko,” a 1994 fantasy-adventure that was chosen