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Inventor of Instant Noodles Dies at Age 96 in Japan

Momofuku Ando, the Japanese inventor of instant noodles — a dish that has sustained American college students for decades — has died. He was 96.

Nissin Food Products Co., the company Ando founded, said on its Web site that he died Friday after suffering a heart attack.

Born in Taiwan, Ando founded his company in 1948 from a humble family operation. Faced with food shortages in post-World War II Japan, Ando thought a quality, convenient noodle product would help feed the masses.

In 1958, his "Chicken Ramen" — the first instant noodle — was introduced after many trials. Following its success, the company added other products, such as the "Cup Noodle" in 1971.

"The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum" opened in 1999 in Ikeda City in western Japan commemorating his inventions.

Ando gave a speech at the company's New Year ceremony and enjoyed Chicken Ramen for lunch with Nissin employees on Thursday before falling ill, Japan's largest daily Yomiuri reported.

He is survived by his wife, Masako.