Japanese cartoonist Leiji Matsumoto was released Wednesday from a hospital in the northern Italian city of Turin after suddenly falling sick in mid-November during a trip and being treated for pneumonia, an official at the facility said.

Matsumoto, 81, will be returning to Japan. The well-known cartoonist was taken to the hospital on Nov. 15 after visiting the city for an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary since his video animation "Space Pirate Captain Herlock" was first broadcast in Italy.

Initially, some Italian media reported that Matsumoto was apparently in serious condition and believed to have had a stroke. But Japanese people close to him later said no severe symptoms were found and he would leave for Japan after recovering.

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