Beloved British cartoonist and author Raymond Briggs has passed away at age 88, according to his publisher Penguin Random House.
The graphic novelist is best known for his charming 1978 children’s book “The Snowman”, which follows a young boy who builds a snowman that comes to life, only to find him melted in the morning.
The massively-popular book went on to become a widely-watched animation, which the novelist deemed “corny” in a 2015 interview with The Guardian, despite the on-screen adaption becoming a huge hit on the Christmas programming circuit.
Briggs, whose other notable works include the comic books “Fungus the Bogeyman” and “Father Christmas”, could be somewhat of a cynic when it came to his work, despite its adoration among readers young and old. His literary agent Hilary Delamere, however, dispelled that reputation.
“Raymond liked to act the professional curmudgeon, but we will remember him for his stories of love and of loss,” Delamere told The Guardian.
“I know from the many letters he received how his books and animations touched people’s hearts. He kept his curiosity and sense of wonder right up to the last.”
The British cartoonist was born in the suburbs of London before he shipped off to art school at the Wimbledon College of Art, where he met backlash from teachers who questioned his desire to be a cartoonist rather than pursue more serious art forms.
Despite his career choice to focus on illustration and his reputation as the cartoonist of Christmas, Briggs’ work also touched on more serious topics, such as his 1982 story “Where the Wind Blows”, a cartoon book exploring the effect of nuclear warfare.
The acclaimed author rejected tying himself to one genre, often refuting his reputation as a children’s author.
“There are a few books which are obviously for small children,” Briggs told the Guardian in 1999. “But I don’t usually think about whether a book is for children or adults. After a child has learned to read fluently, at about eight or nine, then the whole idea of categorizing them seems a bit daft.”
His death was confirmed by his family, who said he will be “deeply missed.”