One of the most prolific Hot Wheels designers of the past 20 years has done his final trick.
Ryu Asada joined Mattel in 2004 as a designer on the Matchbox brand before joining the Hot Wheels team. Over his 17-year career, Asada has designed dozens of 1:64 scale die-cast vehicles for the main $1 Hot Wheels assortment, most recently serving as designer project lead.
Asada’s passing was revealed via a post on his official Instagram account and shared by the official Hot Wheels profile:
“Ryu bravely battled stage IV colorectal cancer for four and a half years. Even through extensive surgeries and chemotherapy, he stayed positive and continued doing what he loved to do – designing Hot Wheels and sharing his passion for cars with the world.
He had a strong will and fought until the end. He made his last round in hospital on March 23 due to complications from cancer. His life partner, Hazel Diaz Asada, whom he met in a drawing class at the University of Oregon 21 years ago, was, as always, by his side.
In his 42 short years with us, he has accomplished and experienced so much. He was grateful to have worked on a huge selection of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars for 17 years, turning his dream vehicles into 1:64 scale die-cast treasures for young and old. He was most proud of having bridged the automotive culture of Japan and the United States, helping to fuel the current JDM car craze sweeping the die-casting world. Most importantly, he developed meaningful and genuine relationships with people through a shared interest in cars and many adventures all over his home circuit in Los Angeles and around the world.
The family thanks everyone for all the love, support and prayers from around the world. Ryu beams with joy knowing that you have a favorite car designed by him. Ryu will live on in our hearts and memories.
Asada’s work will live on in diecast aisles, toy boxes and collections around the world. At least 17 of his designs are on the pegs this year as part of the main Hot Wheels assortment, including the 1994 Audi Avant RS2, 1967 Ford GT40 Mk.IV, Lethal Diesel, Tooned Twin Mill, Dodge Van and the Greedy. -Car-De-Asada themed.