In Denmark, Jens Nygaard Knudsen, one of the LEGO veterans who worked as a designer for more than 30 years, died at the age of 78. It was he who in the 1970s created the LEGO man figure with moving legs and arms, which became the classic symbol of the series of designers.
For the first time, human figures in LEGO appeared in 1974, but they were very different from the modern look: at first it was generally a family of parents, son, daughter and grandmother. A year later, they were replaced by more universal, but less expressive figures: there were no facial expressions, moving parts, and the characters differed except in different hats.
It was Knudsen who insisted on a change and by 1978 introduced the first character of the LEGO Minifigure series: a smiling cop with a designer car. The designer insisted that the standard figure be asexual, have a neutral yellow color and arms with mounts for various items.
Since then, the LEGO man has changed thousands of costumes and professions, but the image has remained virtually unchanged. According to LEGO, nearly 8 billion figures have been sold worldwide, and they have become an important part of pop culture.
Knudsen suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and died in a hospital on February 20. “LEGO fans should know perhaps the most important creative person in modern LEGO history. Almost his memory. There’s simply no other one, ”said another Niels Pedersen veteran of the company, who worked with Knudsen.
Extremely sad news : Jens Nygaard Knudsen (the orginal creator of the #LEGO Minifigure) passed away this week! While I never met Jens, what he created played such a huge part of my childhood as well as for many other millions of kids around the world. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/xAUJUUpBg3— Matthew Ashton (@matthew__ashton) February 21, 2020
The current head of LEGO design, Matthew Ashton: “Extremely sad news: Jens Nygard Knudsen, creator of the LEGO man, died this week. Although I have never met Jensem, he played a huge role in my childhood, as well as in the childhood of millions. ”
Without him, I would have never been inspired to do the things I do today, without him I wouldn’t even have my job today! What an amazing man, and what an incredible legacy he leaves behind. RIP – Jens Nygaard Knudsen, 25th January 1942 – 19th February 2020. @LEGO_Group pic.twitter.com/rqLfvkHZHX— Matthew Ashton (@matthew__ashton) February 21, 2020
Without him, I would never have received inspiration for the things that I am doing now; without him, I would never have been at the job that I have now. An amazing person, and an amazing legacy that he left behind