Michael Bond, author of the cherished children's classic, "A Bear called Paddington," has died at the age of 91 following a short illness. Here are other famous fictional bears in film and literature.
The author Michael Bond has passed away nearly 60 years after his first book appeared in 1958, "A Bear called Paddington."
The character was named after the London railway station where he was found, having arrived from "deepest, darkest Peru" according to Bond's famous description. The bear was wearing a tag around his neck that read "Please look after this bear."
Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, said the duffel-coated, Wellington boot-wearing bear "touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations."
Bond's daughter, Karen Jankel, spoke to the Guardian newspaper about her father's death. "It's a shock to everybody. For me, he was the most wonderful father you can imagine," she said. "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."
Paddington Bear has been enjoyed by generations of children, with more than 35 million books sold, the publisher said on Wednesday. HarperCollins released the latest Paddington story, "Paddington's Finest Hour," in April.
"Michael Bond was one of the great children's writers and at HarperCollins we are immensely fortunate to have published him and to have known him," said Charlie Redmayne, HarperCollins' chief executive.
"He was a wonderful man and leaves behind one of the great literary legacies of our time."
Meanwhile, a film based on the character, "Paddington," was released in 2014 to great critical and commercial success.
In addition to Paddington, Bond created a host of characters including Monsieur Pamplemousse, the French detective, and a book of tales based on the adventures of Olga da Polga, a guinea-pig.
Bond was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1997 for his services to children's literature, and received the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2015.
Bond is survived by his wife Sue and his children Karen and Anthony.
sb/eg (Reuters, AP, dpa)