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Sunday, 13 February, 2000, 06:31 GMT
Peanuts consigned to history
Charlie Brown and gang
So long Charlie Brown and co
A 50-year tradition comes to end on Sunday with the last ever Peanuts, the world's most famous comic strip.

More than 2,600 newspapers around the world will never quite be the same now that Charles Schulz, the American cartoonist who has drawn the strip every day since 1950, retires to concentrate on his fight against colon cancer.
Charles Schulz
Charles Schulz has cancer of the colon
The final cartoon begins with Charlie Brown saying on the phone "no, I think he's writing". The next picture shows Snoopy in familiar pose hunched over the typewriter on top of his kennel.

'Dear friends', Snoopy writes, leading on to a farewell letter from Mr Schulz in which the 77-year-old cartoonist thanks his millions of fans for their "wonderful support and love" and says the cartoon was the fulfillment of his childhood ambition.

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy ... how can I ever forget them ...

Charles Schulz
The first Peanuts strip appeared in October 1950.

For nearly 50 years Charles Schulz drew each instalment himself. Most comic strip writers delegate much of the work to assistants.

Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and others may have lived in a state of perpetual childhood but their struggles and their angst were recognisable to adults all over the world, who posted Peanuts cartoons in offices and homes as short parables of modern life.
Snoopy: A pooch with a penchant for flying
It is estimated the strip had 350 million daily readers.

Now they will have to be content with reprints.

Mr Schulz was diagnosed as suffering colon cancer last November and shortly afterwards announced that he would be putting away his pen to concentrate on his health.

Under the terms of Mr Schulz's contract no other artist can take on the strip after his death.

Global phenomenon

Peanuts now appears in more than 2,600 newspapers around the world and in 21 languages generating an annual global revenue of more than $1bn.

And although the world has changed a lot since its first publication, Peanuts has remained a constant.

Charlie Brown, the great American loser, typically responds to the trials life sends him with a despondent "good grief".

His canine pal Snoopy takes regular flights of fancy to the skies of World War I to fight the Red Baron.

See also:

15 Dec 99 | Americas
So long, Charlie Brown
15 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Cartoonists honour Schulz
21 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Snoopy creator diagnosed with cancer
06 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
Shelling out for Peanuts
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