Game designer James M. (Jim) Ward, a member of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame for his contributions to Dungeons & Dragons and other games, has passed away, according to a post on his Facebook.  He was 72.

Ward was a friend of Gary Gygax from the very early days of Dungeons & Dragons development.  He and Rob Kuntz wrote Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes in 1976 for TSR, which was the first introduction of gods into the game.  He also is the creator of Metamorphosis Alpha, the first science fiction RPG, also published by TSR (see "Jim Ward's 'Metamorphosis Alpha'").  He worked at TSR for 20 years in a number of executive positions, and left in 1996.

Ward designed the Dragon Ball Z collectible card game, as well as helping with the Tomb Raider, Wheel of Time and Babylon 5 CCGs.  He founded the d20 company Fast Forward Entertainment with Timothy Brown, Lester Smith, John Danovich and Sean Everett (see "Fast Forward Takes Over Campaign").  He later joined Troll Lord Games as a writer and later the editor for Troll Lord's Castles & Crusades magazine, The Crusader Journal (see "Jim Ward Editor of 'Crusader'").

Ward had a series of health issues over the past 15 years.  He was diagnosed with a serious neurological disorder in 2010 (see "Jim Ward Fund Requests Donations"), and had a heart attack in 2014 (see "Jim Ward Suffers Heart Attack").

We knew Ward from his time at TSR in the 1980s and 90s, and found him to be a warm, funny man, and a gamer through and through.  We last saw him at a Gamehole Con in the late 2010s, and at that point he seemed little the worse for wear and definitely had the same warm heart.  Our condolences to his friends and family.