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Raymond Briggs, the children’s author best known for his classic “The Snowman,” has died. He was 88 years old.

The news of Briggs’ passing was announced on the official “Snowman” social media accounts on Wednesday morning, in a tribute remembering him as a “brilliantly observant, funny storyteller” and one who was “honest about how life is rather than how adults might wish to tell it to children.”

“And so in life: Raymond was a generous, unjealous spirit who was a pleasure to work with, as well as to visit in his Sussex cottage and experience his teasing genius in his home,” Penguin Random House colleagues said in a statement. “He was funny! I have made us laugh a lot. I will miss him. All of us who had the privilege of working with him will miss him.”

“We know that Raymond’s books were loved by and touched millions of people around the world, who will be sad to hear this news,” Briggs’ family said in a statement to media.

“The Snowman” told the story – without any words – of a young boy’s snowy creation magically coming to life. To date, “The Snowman” has sold more than 5.5 million copies worldwide, and it was adapted into an animated special for television in 1982. It was nominated for a BAFTA Award and has become a staple of Christmastime viewing in the UK

In addition to “The Snowman,” Briggs was also known for other stories including “Father Christmas” and a graphic novel based on his parents’ lives, “Ethel and Ernest.”

Over the course of his career, Briggs won a Kate Greenaway Medal – one of the highest honors of children’s publishing – in 1966 for illustrating a book of nursery rhymes, “The Mother Goose Treasury,” and a second for “Father Christmas.”

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Briggs’ wife, Jean, died in 1973 and his partner, Liz, died in 2015. He is survived by two stepchildren and their families.

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