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French author and illustrator Ungerer dies

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PARIS: Renowned French cartoonist, author and illustrator Tomi Ungerer, a lifelong activist who protested against racial segregation, the Vietnam war and the election of US President Donald Trump, has died at the age of 87 in Ireland, his former adviser said yesterday.

“He died in the night and his wife called me this (Saturday) morning on the phone,” Robert Walter, his former adviser and a friend “for 35 years” said, adding that Ungerer died at his daughter’s home.

“He was an all-round genius, a man who was talented in everything. He loved literature. He used to say ‘I write about what I draw and I draw what I write’,” he said.

Originally from Alsace in eastern France, Ungerer lived in the US and Canada before settling in Ireland. He was obsessed with books from an early age.

“For me, if there was a heaven it would be a library,” he said in a 2016 interview, adding that he was “brought up on reading”.

Ungerer’s oeuvre ranged from globally celebrated children’s books like The Three Robbers and The Moon Man to erotic drawings as well as satirical paintings and political posters. He wrote in three languages: English, French and German. He published over 140 books which have been translated into 30 languages.

Ungerer’s social activism and his often irreverent writings led to some of his work being branded “subversive” by critics.

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