Albert Uderzo, co-creator, and illustrator of the Asterix comics, has died at the age of 92.
Uderzo was the one who illustrated and later wrote the popular stories, which explained in detail the adventures of Gaulish warriors fighting the Roman Empire.
Bernard de Choisy, Uderzo’s son-in-law, confirmed the devastating news of his death, revealing the French comic book artist died in his sleep in France on the 24th of March, on a Tuesday.
De Choisy clarified at the announcement that his death is not related to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
He said in his statement:
“[He] died in his sleep at his home in Neuilly from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus. He had been very tired for several weeks.”
Uderzo is the one who created the comics in 1959 with the help of writer René Goscinny, and took charge of the writing after Goscinny’s death in 1977. The series was first released in October 1959 in the French magazine Pilote and quickly generated a cult following.
Fans absolutely loved the small-statured Asterix, a warrior from Roman-occupied ancient Gaul, and after the first solo book, Astérix the Gaul, was released, the comic books started to sell more than 370 million copies worldwide, in dozens of different languages.
Several stories have been converted into cartoons and showcased films depicting Asterix’s adventures with his best friend Obelix and dog Dogmatix, or Idéfix, as he was known in the French original, and in 1989 a theme park dedicated to the cartoons opened outside Paris.
After many years of working on the series, in 2011 Uderzo gave the torch onto a younger artist to continue illustrating the stories of Asterix. The most recent book, Asterix and the Chieftain’s Daughter was released last October.
Several tributes have been pouring in for the creator, with comedian Chris Addison writing::
Albert Uderzo has died. Oh, man. I think very few people’s works will ever give me the amount of pleasure his has ever since I was very young. One of my greatest culinary regrets is that I’ll never get to eat wild boar the way he drew them for Asterix. Chapeau, monsieur.
Mark Millar, the creator of comics including Kingsman and Kick-Ass, wrote:
RIP Albert Uderzo, my gateway drug to beautiful European comics. I just bought this two weeks ago for my office. The Master!
There’s no doubt Uderzo’s creation will continue to bring joy to fans for decades to come; he has left behind an incredible legacy.
Our thoughts are with his friends, family, and fans at these trying times.