Michael Bond has passed away at the age of 91, it has been confirmed. The author, who was the brains behind beloved children's character Paddington Bear, died at his home on Tuesday following a short illness. A statement from his publisher Harper Collins read: "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."
Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond has passed away at the age of 91
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Michael published his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, in 1958. Throughout his career, he published over 200 books for children. As well as Paddington, Michael also created characters including Olga da Polga and A Mouse Called Thursday along with a series of adult novels, featuring the detective Monsieur Pamplemousse. Over 35 million Paddington books have been sold worldwide, which have gone on to inspire toys, TV programmes and most recently the movie, Paddington.
Stephen Fry was one of the first stars to pay tribute to the author, tweeting: "So sorry to hear that Michael Bond has departed. He was as kindly, dignified, charming & lovable as the immortal Paddington Bear he gave us." David Walliams wrote: "I had the great pleasure of spending time with #MichaelBond A dazzling wit & perfect gentleman. On meeting him I realised he was #Paddington." He added: "#Paddington always brought joy in all its forms. This theme music is enough to make me smile. Thank you #MichaelBond."
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Hugh Bonneville, who played Mr Brown in the film, said: "It seems particularly poignant that we should learn of dear Michael Bond's death on the last day of shooting our second film about his unique, loveable creation." The star continued: "In Paddington, Michael created a character whose enthusiasm and optimism has given pleasure to millions across the generations. Michael will be greatly missed by his legions of fans and especially by his wife Sue, his family and of course by his beloved guinea pigs. He leaves a special legacy: long live the bear from darkest Peru."