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Children's author Maurice Sendak dies at 83

Author, illustrator of 'Where the Wild Things Are' suffers stroke

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Maurice Sendak, the author and illustrator of "Where the Wild Things Are," has died aged 83, the New York Times reported.

Sendak suffered complications from a stroke, his editor, Michael di Capua, told the paper. He had the stroke on Friday, his friend Lynn Caponera, who was with him when he died, told the Associated Press.

He passed away in hospital in Danbury, Conn., near where he lived.

Sendak, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, wrote some 20 books and illustrated dozens more.

In addition to "Where the Wild Things Are" (first published in 1963), some of his best-loved stories included "Chicken Soup with Rice" (1962), "Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or: There Must Be More to Life" (1967) and "In the Night Kitchen" (1970). 

Sendak's wilful, naughty characters and surreal, even scary, illustrations "upended the staid, centuries-old tradition of American children's literature," the Times said. According to the BBC, he traced his "raw and honest artistic style" back to his Jewish-Polish family's experience of World War II and the Holocaust.

As well as multiple children's prizes, including the prestigious Caldecott Medal, Sendak was awarded a National Medal of Arts in 1996 for his contribution to American literature.

"I don't write for children," he told Stephen Colbert in one of his final interviews, in January (video below). "I write. And somebody says, 'That's for children.' I don't set out to make children happy, or make life better for them, or easier for them. [...]

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"I like them as few and as far between as I like adults – maybe a bit more, because I really don't like adults, at all."

Sendak's final work, titled "My Brother's Book," will be published posthumously in February 2013, according to the Times. It is described as a poem inspired by his late brother.

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Maurice Sendak

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