June 28 (UPI) — Michael Bond, the creator and author of the Paddington Bear children’s book series, has died at the age of 91.
“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 aged 91 following a short illness,” Bond’s publisher HarperCollins announced on Facebook Wednesday.
The writer’s daughter Karen Jankel told the Guardian “it’s a shock to everybody. For me, he was the most wonderful father you can imagine, so obviously our loss is personal. But it’s wonderful that he’s left the legacy of his books and Paddington that will live on for ever, which is really very special.”
“The whole world is lucky to have had him … Paddington himself is so real to all of us. He’s still a part of our family and we’re very lucky,” she continued.
Bond’s first book in his Paddington series, “A Bear Called Paddington,” was first published in 1958 and the author’s last novel, “Paddington’s Finest Hour,” released in April 2017.
Bond also created other children’s books characters such as Olga da Polga, A Mouse Called Thursday and a French detective named Monsieur Pamplemousse.
Books featuring Paddington, a brown bear who arrives in London from Peru, have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide according to HarperCollins. The character was featured in his own live-action film in 2014 titled “Paddington” where Bond appeared in a cameo role.
A sequel to the film, “Paddington 2,” is set for release on Nov. 10.