Albert Uderzo, the French comic artist who illustrated the cartoon character Asterix the Gaul, has died at the age of 92, news agency AFP reports, citing his family.
The agency quoted Uderzo's son-in-law, Bernard de Choisy, who said the cartoonist died in his sleep on Tuesday of a heart attack. There was no link to the new coronavirus.
De Choisy told the agency his father-in-law had been "very tired for several weeks".
Uderzo and Rene Goscinny came up with the idea of Asterix over a glass of pastis on Uderzo's balcony in a public housing block in the Paris suburb of Bobigny in 1959, as the suburb's archivist told France Bleu radio last year.
The tiny but cunning Gaulish warrior and his beefy and bumbling sidekick Obelix became an international success.
For eighteen years, Goscinny's pun-filled text accompanied Uderzo's drawings.
Uderzo carried on with the series as both writer and illustrator after Goscinny's sudden death in 1977, although the names of both men continued to appear on the covers of the books.
His last edition, Asterix and Obelix's Birthday - The Golden Book, came out in 2009 to mark the character's 50th anniversary.
Since then, four albums have been published by a new team of writer Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrator Didier Conrad.
Australian Associated Press