The influential children's author Maurice Sendak has died, aged 83. His long-time editor, Michael Di Capua has said that his death was caused by complications from a recent stroke, the New York Times reports today. Sendak's illustrated children's books were notable for their often dark content. Titles such as 'Where The Wild Things Are' and 'In the Night Kitchen' have retained their popularity since their original publication in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.
Sendak was a self-taught illustrator; New York Times describes the worlds that he created through his illustration as "at once lovely and dreadful, suspended between wakefulness and dreaming". His work was recently adapted for the big screen by the film director Spike Jonze. The animation was released in 2009, to wide acclaim. Jonze also made a documentary about Sendak that year, entitled 'Tell Them Anything You Want.' Last year, Harper Collins published 'Bumble-Ardy,' Sendak's first work for 30 years for which he produced both text and illustration. 'Bumble-Ardy' spent five weeks at the top of the New York Times children's best-seller list and tells the story of an orphaned pig who decides to throw himself a "riotous" birthday party.
A poem written and illustrated by Maurice, entitled 'My Brother's Book' is scheduled for a posthumous release next February. It is said to have been inspired by his love for his late brother Jack. Sendak is said to have cherished letters sent to him by children who had read his books. One such letter, from an 8 year-old boy, apparently read "Dear Mr Sendak, How much does it cost to get to where the wild things are? If it is not expensive, my sister and I would like to spend the summer there."