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The BBC's Graham Satchell
"The Peanuts characters have become global icons"
 real 28k

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Fans will no doubt greet the news with 'good grief'"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 07:42 GMT
So long, Charlie Brown

The first Peanuts strip The first strip: Early editions are to be republished


The creator of one of the world's most successful cartoon strips, Peanuts, has announced his retirement after being told he has cancer.

Charles M Schulz, the man behind Snoopy, Charlie Brown and others, said that he would stop working on January 4, 2000 to concentrate on seeking treatment for his illness.


Charles M Schulz Taken ill: Schulz diagnosed with cancer in November
More than 350 million people are thought to read Mr Schulz's strip which is syndicated in newspapers and magazines in 75 countries and 21 languages.

"I always wanted to be a cartoonist and I feel very blessed to have been able to do what I love for almost 50 years," Mr Schulz said in a statement.

"That all of you have embraced Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus and all the other Peanuts characters has been a constant motivation for me."

Mr Schulz, 77, discovered he had colon cancer after he underwent emergency surgery in November for a blocked abdominal aorta.

He has been recovering at his California home since he was discharged from hospital on November 30.



I feel very blessed to have been able to do what I love for almost 50 years
Charles M Schulz
Mr Schulz said that his cartoon for 3 January would be the final daily release. It would be followed on 13 February with the final strip for a Sunday newspaper.

"Although I feel better following my recent surgery, I want to focus on my health and my family without the worry of a daily deadline," Mr Schulz said.

"Thank you for your kindness and support over the years and for the outpouring of good wishes since my surgery."

Members of the US National Cartoonists Society have been sending in 'Get Well' drawings for Mr Schulz, and these have been posted on their website.

While the Peanuts strip remains immensely popular, Mr Schulz's contract with publishers ensures that no artist can take on the strip after his death.

In interviews he has described his creations as his "children" and left few in doubt of his love for the characters.

Peanut's syndicator, United Media, said that it plans to redistribute old editions of the strip, beginning with 1974, for an indefinite period.

Awards

Peanuts first appeared on 2 October 1950 and went on to appear in some 2,600 newspapers.

Mr Schulz won the Reuben Award, one of comic art's highest honours, in 1955 and 1964.

In 1978, he was named International Cartoonist of the Year and on Peanuts's 40th birthday, France named Mr Schulz a Commander of Arts and Letters, one of its highest arts awards.

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See also:
15 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Cartoonists honour Schulz
15 Dec 99 |  World
You're a phenomenon, Charlie Brown
15 Dec 99 |  Talking Point
What are your favourite Peanuts moments?
21 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Snoopy creator diagnosed with cancer
06 Oct 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Shelling out for Peanuts

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