Bill Watterson, the creator of ”Calvin and Hobbes,” the tender and sage comic strip starring a young boy and his pet tiger that is read by 355 million people around the world, died in his sleep on Friday night at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 56 years old.
The cause of death was colon cancer, said Paige Braddock, creative director for Bill Watterson Creative Associates.
Mr. Watterson drew ”Calvin and Hobbes” for nearly half a century. He swore that no one else would ever draw the comic strip and he kept his word. For years he drew ”Calvin and Hobbes” with a hand tremor. He finally put down his pen when he received a diagnosis of colon cancer after abdominal surgery in November.
Lynn Johnston, a friend of Mr. Watterson and the creator of ”For Better or for Worse,” recalled something Mr. Watterson told her as she sat in the hospital with him last year: ”You control all these characters and the lives they live. You decide when they get up in the morning, when they’re going to fight with their friends, when they’re going to lose the game. Isn’t it amazing how you have no control over your real life?” But, Ms. Johnston said, ”I think, in a way, he did.”