Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington Bear, has died at the age of 91.
The mastermind behind Britain’s best-loved children’s character passed away at his home on Tuesday after a short illness.
The author, who published over 200 books for children in his career, put out his first-ever book about the duffle-coat-wearing Peruvian bear in 1958. Now more than 35 million Paddington books have been sold worldwide.
Harper Collins, who published Bond’s works for almost 60 years, said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we announce that Michael Bond, CBE, the creator of one of Britain’s best-loved children’s characters, Paddington, died at home yesterday.”
Bond was a prolific writer in his time and kept writing up until his death – his most recent Paddington story, Paddington’s Finest Hour, was published in April.
In his lifetime he produced more than 150 titles about Paddington which were in turn translated into more than 40 different languages.
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Born in Newbury in Berkshire, Bond got the inspiration to create world’s most cherished bear after seeing a teddy in a shop window on his way home from work in 1956.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, he compared the marmalade-loving wellington-boot-wearing bear, who is based on the spectacled bear, to his father, saying: “My father, always a stickler for the right way to do things, would wear his hat in the sea – much like Paddington.”
He also said: “My daughter Karen was born the same year that the first Paddington story was published, so they have grown up together – like siblings.”
The fictional character, a bear from the darkest depths of Peru who comes to live in London, also went on to inspire an animated TV series and a successful 2014 film.
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