Michael Bond, the creator of the beloved children’s character Paddington Bear, has died at 91.
Bond published his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, about the marmalade-loving bear from Peru, in 1958.
The author, born in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1926, kept writing until his death. His most recent Paddington story, Paddington’s Finest Hour, was published in April.
His daughter, Karen Jankel, told the Guardian “the whole world” was lucky to have had her father, whose legacy would “live on forever” through his creation
A statement from publisher Harper Collins said: “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.”
Jankel said: “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.”
Jankel said it was “incredible” that her father was still writing up until his death.
“For him, writing was his life. It was wonderful he could continue writing until the end,” she said. “Because … Paddington and his other characters were so real to him, he became alive to everybody else.
“You can tell just by reading his books what a lovely person he was. 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.”