The Dutch artist and children's author Dick Bruna, whose much-loved cartoon rabbit Miffy has sold more than 80 million books since its creation in 1955, has died aged 89, his publisher said in a statement on Friday.
Bruna created the character to entertain his infant son after seeing a rabbit in the dunes while on a seaside holiday and went on to relate the giant-eared, orange-pullovered bunny's adventures in over 30 books sold worldwide.
Born in 1929 into a family of publishers, Bruna began his career as an illustrator of covers for books including Ian Fleming's James Bond series and the Inspector Maigret thrillers of Georges Simenon.
Miffy, known as Nijntje in Dutch, was his best known creation, enjoying great popularity in Asia and adorning lunchboxes the world over.
Bruna's fans have taken to Twitter to share pictures of Miffy, with many opting for images that depict the cartoon crying:
In a 2008 interview, Bruna told The Telegraph that despite selling millions of books worldwide, and being born into a family of prominent Dutch publishers, he was unaware of exactly how much money his work had brought in.
For him, the most important thing was the art itself.
"Sometimes people ask me, how much do you earn? No idea at all. Of course it's funny to say something like that, but I'm just very happy as we are," he said.