Dick Bruna, the Dutch creator of the Miffy cartoon rabbit, has died aged 89.
His publisher in Holland, Mercis, announced that the world-famous illustrator had died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday night (16th February) in the Dutch city of Utrecht, Kerkhof.
The author has published over 100 books, 32 about Miffy, and sold 80m copies globally. His most famous character is known as Nijntje (“little rabbit”) in Dutch, with the English translator Olive Jones first christening the animal Miffy.
Bruna devised the character to entertain his infant son after they saw a rabbit in the dunes while on a seaside holiday. The first Miffy book was published in 1955.
Simon & Schuster was his most recent publisher in the UK, which issues a “complete relaunch” of the brand in 2014 after the books were previously published by Egmont in the 1960s.
Alexandra Maramenides, managing director for Simon & Schuster Children’s UK, told The Bookseller: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dick Bruna… We feel very privileged to have worked with Dick Bruna, whose Miffy character is treasured by parents and children alike. Our sympathies are with his family.”
Mercis publisher Marja Kerkhof and long time friend told News OK: “He was very much loved around the world. I remember traveling with him to Australia, to New Zealand, to Asia, to Japan. Wherever he would go, people would queue up for signing sessions of his books.”
Bruna is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren.