In a year that has already devastated fandom with the deaths of both David Bowie and Alan Rickman, gamers, geeks, and anyone who was a child in the 1990s have lost another of their own. Pokemon Creative Design Director Eric Medalle passed away Sunday, March 13 in Washington.
The Seattle Times reports that Medalle had taken his youngest daughter for a Sunday drive and was less than four miles from him home when tragedy struck. At approximately 1:30 p.m., a large pine tree buffeted by gusts from a windstorm snapped. The tree crashed down on Medalle’s SUV, a black BMW X3, crushing the vehicle. Emergency personnel were dispatched to Seward Park, where the Pokemon artist was pronounced dead at the scene. His daughter was pulled from the back seat by a 36-year-old passerby, who wishes to remain anonymous, and delivered to the first responders. The toddler was then taken to Harborview Medical Center, where she was treated for minor injuries and later released.
Medalle’s family is understandably shocked at the sudden and tragic loss. Medalle’s aunt, Estrella Ferrer, spoke of these feelings to the Seattle Times.
“It’s very sad and tragic to lose someone so young so suddenly,” Ferrar said. “Everybody was shocked. I was completely shocked. I can’t believe it happened.”
In an interview with King 5 News, arborist Matt Stemple, who is employed by Seattle Parks and Recreation, echoed the surprised sentiments regarding the accident that led to Eric Medalle’s death.
“I would say it was totally unforeseen with such high abnormal wind speeds and the amount of rain we had received… any prediction or risk assessment that we would have done if we had seen this tree prior just really wouldn’t be valid in such extreme weather conditions.”
Winds at the time were estimated to be in excess of 50 miles, snapping trees and taking down power lines in numerous locations with Seattle. Roughly 200,000 residents were said to be left without power, and cleanup is continuing at the time of publication.
Medalle was a valued member of the Nintendo and Pokemon International families, as well as a prolific artist. According to his LinkedIn profile, Medalle graduated from the University of Michigan. He moved to Seattle shortly thereafter. He was employed by Pokemon International in November of 2003 and moved steadily upwards in the ranks. He worked first as a senior graphic designer, then as design manager, and finally, in 2010, he began his work as the creative design director, a position he held until his death on Sunday.
“He was a very creative person, a man of all talents,” Medalle’s aunt stated.
With such an impressive tenure with the long-lasting and much-loved video game, it comes as no surprise that most fans of Pokemon likely have Medalle’s work among their most treasured cards. According to Bulbapedia, his credits include artwork and graphic design on Pokemon Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Y, Pokemon Black and White Versions 2, Pokemon Conquest, Pokemon Black and White Versions, Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs, Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions, and Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia.
In addition to his impressive artistic legacy, Medalle also leaves behind a legacy in his family. Survivors include his wife, Carrie, who is employed as a teacher, his 6-year-old daughter Isa, and his toddler, Nico, was was the other passenger in the vehicle when the tragedy took place. A YouCaring crowdfunding page has been established to help his daughters attend college when they are of age.
Memorial services for Eric Medalle have been planned for Thursday. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of this prolific artist and thank him for his contributions to fandom.
Eric Medalle, we choose you!
[Image via Shutterstock]