Raymond Briggs, creator of The Snowman, has died, aged 88.
The author’s publisher Penguin Random House announced the news on Wednesday (10 August).
Briggs, who was also an illustrator, cartoonist and graphic novelist, started his career in the 1950s.
He was best known for creating pitcure book The Snowman, whose cartoon adaptation featuring the song “Walking in the Air” by Aled Jones, has become a Christmas classic.
Briggs’s other famous works include 1973’s Father Christmas, another children’s Christmas book, Fungus the Bogeyman, and Ug: Boy Genius of the Stone Age.
In a statement, Briggs’s family said: “We know that Raymond’s books were loved by and touched millions of people around the world, who will be sad to hear this news. Drawings from fans – especially children’s drawings – inspired by his books were treasured by Raymond, and pinned up on the wall of his studio.
“He lived a rich and full life and said he felt lucky to have had both his wife Jean, and his partner of over 40 years Liz in his life.”
In 2012, Briggs became the first person to be inducted into the British Comic Awards hall of fame. In 2017, he was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to literature.
The family’s statement went on to reflect on Brigg’s “love of nature” and “sense of fun and craziness”.
“He played practical jokes and enjoyed them being played on him,” it read. “All of us close to him knew his irreverent humour - this could be biting in his work when it came to those in power. He liked the Guardian editorial describing himself as an ‘iconoclastic national treasure’.
“Raymond was much loved and will be deeply missed by his step-children, and step- grandchildren, by his dearest friends, by his devoted carers and team, and by his wonderful neighbours.
“His family would like to thank all of the team on Overton Ward at Royal Sussex County Hospital for their kind and thoughtful care of Raymond in his final weeks.”