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Michael Bond, the creator of popular children’s literature character Paddington Bear, passed away Tuesday, June 27 at home following a “short illness.” He was 91.

Publisher HarperCollins announced the sad news Wednesday: “It is with great sadness that we announce that Michael Bond, CBE, the creator of one Britain’s best-loved children’s characters, Paddington, died at home yesterday at 91 following a short illness.”

HarperCollins Children’s Books executive publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh said the late author “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 introduced the marmalade-loving, Peruvian bear in his first book, 1958’s A Bear Called Paddington. He based the beloved character on a teddy bear he spotted in a store near the railway station on Christmas Eve and purchased as a gift for his wife.

Bond, born in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1926, kept publishing books in the series until his death, selling over 35 million copies worldwide throughout his life. His most recent one, Paddington’s Finest Hour, came out in April. The character, who journeyed from “darkest Peru” to London’s Paddington station, also starred in an animated film adaptation, 2014’s Paddington, and a sequel is planned for this year.

His legacy lives on

Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel, told the Guardian “the whole world” was lucky to have had her father, whose legacy she says would “live on forever” through his iconic writing.

“You can tell just by reading his books what a lovely person he was,” Jankel continued. “I never came across anybody who disliked my father. He was one of those people that people instinctively warmed to and he was as funny as a person and delightful as he was in his writing and as a father.”

Apart from Paddington stories, Bond also wrote a series of books about a guinea pig named Olga da Polga and a string of novels for adults which centers on a French detective called Monsieur Pamplemousse.

Michael Bond is survived by his wife, Susan Marfey Rogers; his children, Karen and Anthony; and four grandchildren.

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