Author and illustrator Norman Bridwell, passed away on December 12th (Friday), in Martha’s Vineyard at age 86. His publisher, Scholastic, announced the tragic news yesterday but did not provide a cause of death.

Best known for creating the “Clifford the Bid Red Dog” book series, Bridwell’s first book was published in 1963. He eventually wrote and illustrated over 150 Clifford titles and the series has been translated into 13 languages and sold 129 million copies. Moreover, the loveable red dog also found a home in television with PBS Kids’ animated series, which received airplay between 2000 and 2003. Apart from that, David Bowers is also directing a big-screen adaptation of “Clifford The Big Red Dog” set to be released on April 8th, 2016.

Photo via NY Times
Photo via NY Times

(Featured image via Facebook)

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“Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor,” Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, said in a release. “Norman personified the values that we as parents and educators hope to communicate to our children – kindness, compassion, helpfulness, gratitude – through the Clifford stories which have been loved for more than fifty years.”

Robinson added: “The magic of the character and stories Norman created with Clifford is that children can see themselves in this big dog who tries very hard to be good, but is somewhat clumsy and always bumping into things and making mistakes. What comforts the reader is that Clifford is always forgiven by Emily Elizabeth (named after Bridwell’s daughter), who loves him unconditionally. At Scholastic, we are deeply saddened by the loss of our loyal and talented friend whose drawings and stories have inspired all of us and generations of children and their parents.”

Bridwell left behind his wife, Norma, their daughter, Emily Elizabeth, son, Timothy, and three grandchildren. The author and illustrator finished two more Clifford books prior to his passing, both of which will be released in 2015. Clifford Goes to Kindergarten will hit shelves in May, and Clifford Celebrates Hannukah will come out in October.

For Scholastic’s full statement, click here.

Our deepest condolences goes out to Bridwell’s family and loved ones.

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Bryna spends most of her time obsessing over cars and sports, particularly football while keeping updated with the entertainment scene. From raves to rock concerts, Bryna listens to all sorts of genres and is also a fan of horror and action movies.