Ryuho Okawa, founder and CEO of the Happy Science religious organization, died on Thursday at 66 of undisclosed causes, sources close to the matter said.

Born in 1956 in Tokushima Prefecture, Okawa worked at a major Japanese trading company after graduating from the University of Tokyo. He founded Happy Science in 1986, according to the organization's website.

Okawa went on to establish the Happiness Realization Party and ran in the Kinki block of the proportional representation section in the 2009 House of Representatives election, but ultimately lost.