Mark Taylor, He-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Toy Designer, Dies at 80

T. Mark Taylor—designer of dozens of toys within the wildly collectible He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises—has died. The toy designer passed away Thursday, December 23rd at his Southern California home. Taylor's family confirmed the designer's passing in an email to the Associated Press, attributing his death to congestive heart failure. He was 80.

Taylor—full name Terrell Mark Taylor—first began his career at Mattel in 1976, designing packages for the toy-maker. He then helped design the initial line of Masters of the Universe toys in the 1980s, which sold upwards of 70 million toys in its first two-and-a-half-years at market.

After the Masters of the Universe line became a hit, Taylor pivoted his career a bit and became an instrumental part in launching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Playmates in 1987. His life work has been focused in plenty documentaries, with the most well-known one being The Toys That Made Us.

The Twitter account for the show paid tribute to the designer on Friday, sharing a batch of his earliest concepts for the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe line. "Rest in peace to an ABSOLUTE legend, Mark Taylor," the account tweeted. "Thank you for He-Man and for your work on the TMNT toy line. Most of all, thanks for the memories."

Taylor is survived by his wife, designer Rebecca Salari-Taylor. "I felt him say goodbye to this world as I held him in my arms for one final loving kiss," she shared in a Facebook post on December 24th.