Lego Figurine Creator Dies at 78

Lego Figurine Creator Jens Knudsen Dies at 78 From Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis


Jen Nygaard Knudsen Death

Tyler Hatfield , Staff Writer

Jens Nygaard Knudsen, creator of the widely recognized Lego minifigure with interchangeable legs and torsos, has died while in hospice care from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He passed away on February 22 outside the small town of Hvide Sande on the Danish west coast, after staying a week at the hospice center (The Straits Times)

Knudsen was a designer at the Danish toy brick maker, Lego, from 1968 to 2000. He worked in developing the now legendary minifigure with interchangeable body parts in the 1970s, before it was finally  released to public in 1978.

“His imagination was so fantastic. If we had a brainstorm it was more like a brain hurricane, because he had so many ideas,” Milan Pedersen told the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“He was a man of ideas. The figure was created so that there would be life in the houses,” his widow Marianne Nygaard Knudsen told Broadcaster TV2. “At the time Lego’s houses were empty, but then he drew this man,” she added.

When the plans were created, it was decided that it would have no sex or race as these would be “determined by the child’s imagination and play.” It was also decided that it would have a yellow face with a neutral happy expression.

Timeline of the Lego Minifig

In addition to the Lego figurine, Nygaard Knudsen was also the one responsible for developing some of Lego’s classic themes like Space and Pirates.