Another legend has been laid to rest.
Toy creator Jens Nygaard Knudsen, best known for designing the iconic Lego mini-figurine, died last week after battling a nerve cell disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He passed while in hospice care in a small town in Western Denmark, according to AFP.
The designer worked for Lego from 1968 to 2000 and was described by Lego Group’s chief marketing officer Julia Goldin as a “true visionary whose ideas brought joy and inspiration to millions of builders around the world.”
The prolific employees of Lego, including Matthew Ashton, vice president of design at the toy company, extended their deepest sympathies to Knudsen’s family.
We're very sad to hear that Jens Nygaard Knudsen, the creator of the LEGO Minifigure, has passed away. Thank you Jens, for your ideas, imagination, and inspiring generations of builders ❤️ pic.twitter.com/7YixYvHtRW
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) February 24, 2020
Knudsen’s famous minifig, with its numerous appearances and interchangable limbs, is an icon of the company and a mainstay of the entire toy industry. The racially ambiguous toy is often referred to as “Lego Man.” He also designed and developed the company’s space and castle sets.
Knudsen’s widow, Marianne Nygaard Knudsen, called her late husband a “man of ideas” and said that he created the figurines so that “there would be life in the [Lego] houses.”
The Lego Company was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, according to the company’s website, and has been passed down from father to son through many generations. The name ‘Lego’ is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt,” which means meaning “play well.”