Yoshifumi Kondō (近藤 喜文 Kondō Yoshifumi?, March 31, 1950 – January 21, 1998) was a Japanese animator who worked for Studio Ghibli in his last years. He was born in Gosen, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. He worked as an animation director on Anne of Green Gables, Sherlock Hound, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Only Yesterday and Princess Mononoke. Kondō directed the animated film Whisper of the Heart, and was expected to become one of the top directors at Studio Ghibli, alongside Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and to become their eventual successor.
Kondō died of an aneurysm in 1998. His death is said to have been caused by excess work, and seems to be the main reason for Hayao Miyazaki’s announcement of retirement in 1998. Although in the end Miyazaki didn’t retire, Kondō’s death seems to have influenced Miyazaki to work at a more relaxed pace. —Wikipedia