David McKee, the best-selling children’s book author and creator of Elmer and Mr. Benn, has died at the age of 87.
The news was confirmed by his publisher, Andersen Press, who said he died at his home in southern France after a short illness.
They released a statement, which said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of David McKee, a popular children’s author and illustrator and creator of iconic children’s books elmer, Not now, Bernard and Mr. Benn.”
“Everyone at Andersen Press hopes his spirit will live on for many more generations to come through his happy, heartfelt stories,” they added.
Andersen Press founder Klaus Flugge also said: “I am devastated by the sudden death of my best friend David McKee. He was as close to Andersen Press as I was. He was there from the start and played a key role in the formation of the company. He made friends with everyone he met; Employees, authors and illustrators alike.”
McKee is best known for elmerwhich was first published in 1968 and went on to become one of the most popular children’s books in the world.
McKee wrote 29 Elmer books that have sold over 10 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 60 languages. The series was also adapted into an animated series and stage play, and featured a wide range of merchandise including stuffed animals.
Another of McKee’s most popular creations is Mr. Benn, which was also spun off into a TV series. McKee is said to be the suit- and bowler-wearing character based on Charlie Chaplin.
McKee was born in Devon and later studied art in Plymouth. His writing career has seen him travel the world, spending much of his time in Italy, France and Spain.
In his later years, McKee divided his time between Britain and France with his partner Bakhta.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/david-mckee-death-cause-books-mr-benn-b2052834.html Death of David McKee: The author of the books Elmer and Mr. Benn dies at the age of 87