Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington Bear, has died at the age of 91, his publisher HarperCollins UK announced on Wednesday. The official Paddington Bear account also confirmed the news in a Twitter post.
Bond introduced the world to the beloved bear in 1958 with the publication of his first children's book A Bear Called Paddington. During the span of his incredible career, Bond published over 200 books for children, though he's best known for the Paddington books, which have sold over 35 million copies worldwide.
The marmalade-loving, Peruvian bear Bond created went on to inspire toys, TV shows, and a 2014 movie starring Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins. The latest book in the series, Paddington's Finest Hour, was published just a few months ago, in April 2017.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Ann-Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher HarperCollins Children’s Books said: “I feel privileged to have been Michael Bond’s publisher – he was a true gentleman, a bon viveur, the most entertaining company and the most enchanting of writers. He will be forever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington, with his duffle coat and wellington boots, which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations. My thoughts and love are with his wife, Sue and his children Karen and Anthony.”
Charlie Redmayne, HarperCollins CEO added: ‘Michael Bond was one of the great children’s writers and at HarperCollins we are immensely fortunate to have published him and to have known him. He was a wonderful man and leaves behind one of the great literary legacies of our time.”