Michael Bond, the creator of the beloved character Paddington Bear, has died at age 91, the Associated Press reports.
Bond's publisher, HarperCollins, said Wednesday that the author died at his home from a short illness one day earlier.
Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said Bond “will be forever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington, with his duffel coat and wellington boots, which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations.”
Bond first created Paddington after he was inspired by a last-minute Christmas gift for his wife, and the bear first appeared in “A Bear Called Paddington” in 1958. Paddington originally came from "Darkest Peru" and arrived at London’s Paddington train station wearing a sign saying, “Please look after this bear. Thank you.”
The bear was adopted by the Brown family and went on to star in more than 20 books, multiple television shows and a feature film, a sequel to which is in production.
Bond drew on memories of refugees and evacuees who passed through Britain before and after World War II to create the bear's character. In addition to Paddington, Bond also wrote a series about a guinea pig called Olga da Polga and a number of novels for adults about a French detective named Monsieur Pamplemousse.
Bond is survived by his wife and his children, Karen and Anthony.
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