Michael Bond, creator of every kids' favourite Peruvian, marmalade-munching, ursine literary character Paddington Bear, has passed away at the age of 91.
Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, said Bond died at his home after a short illness. She added: "[Bond] touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations."
Paddington first appeared in A Bear Called Paddington in 1958 - a stowaway from "Darkest Peru" who arrived at London's Paddington train station wearing a sign saying "Please look after this bear. Thank you".
Adopted by the Brown family, the misadventure-prone bear went on to star in 26 books, a television series and a feature film.
The books have sold over 35 million copies worldwide and been translated into 40 languages, including Latin ("Ursus Nomine Paddington").
Bond wrote over 200 children's books during his time, including the 19-edition Olga da Polga series and the 21-book Monsieur Pamplemousse, but it is Paddington that he will surely be most fondly remembered for.
For his services to children's literature, Bond was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1997, and the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours.
He is survived by a wife, two adult children, four grandchildren and a very hungry bear. Paddington commented on Twitter "Today is a very sad day. Michael Bond CBE will be missed by many."