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Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond dies following short illness

Bond wrote 150 books in total, with 25 additional stories about the marmalade-loving bear from Peru.

Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington bear, died at home aged 91 on Tuesday following a short illness, his publisher HarperCollins said in a statement.

They said: “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.”

Bond’s bear was a character loved across many generations all around the world.

The writer himself became a beloved giant of children’s literature after his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published in 1958.

English author Bond wrote 150 books in total, with 25 additional stories about the marmalade-loving bear from Peru.

The author first came up with the idea for the small bear from Peru in 1956 while working as a BBC TV cameraman, an idea that led him to become known as one of the great children’s writers of his time, his books having been on shelves ever since the first one was published.

As well as the Paddington Bear series, Bond also wrote a children’s TV series called The Herbs, a series of books about a guinea pig called Olga da Polga – inspired by his own pet – and a string of novels for adults about a French detective called Monsieur Pamplemousse.

Tributes have started pouring in for Bond following the news of his death.

Presenter Stephen Fry tweeted: “So sorry to hear that Michael Bond has departed. He was as kindly, dignified, charming & lovable as the immortal Paddington Bear he gave us.”

Children’s author and TV star 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 also wrote various other titles including a guide to Paris.

In 2014, Bond told Press Association how he had, once upon a time on Christmas Eve, found himself on Oxford Street looking for a small gift for his wife’s Christmas stocking.

Snow had started to fall and he found himself outside Selfridges.

“There was this one bear sitting on the shelf and I felt sorry for him,” he recalled, “Someone once said ‘A doll’s always wondering what they’re going to wear next, but there’s something about a bear – you feel you can tell it your secrets and it won’t give them away’.”

The bear in question turned out to be the very toy that inspired him to write A Bear Called Paddington.

The author gave the film Paddington his blessing because, while the bear has appeared on stage and television over the years, a movie was “the one thing Paddington hadn’t done”.

He told Press Association during an interview in 2014: “What’s nice about the film is the fact that all the cast are in it because they like Paddington, they’ve all been brought up with Paddington and there was a very nice atmosphere on set.”

Hugh Bonneville, who plays Mr Brown in the recent film adaptation of Paddington and its forthcoming sequel, said in a statement: “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.

“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.”

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