(CNN) - The man who created the Lego Minifigure has died.
Jens Nygaard Knudsen was responsible for developing the small Lego figures before they were released to the public in 1978. He also developed the company's classic space and castle sets.
He retired from the company in 2000.
A former colleague told the AFP news agency that Nygaard Knudsen died in Denmark on Feb. 19.
He suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
Lego was founded in 1932 and is one of the largest toy manufacturers in the world.