Author Sue Townsend has passed away aged 68.
The writer and creator of Adrian Mole died at home on Thursday following a short illness.
The bestselling author of the 1980s, Townsend first published The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 back in 1982 before following it up with seven more instalments including the latest, Adrian Mole: The Prostate Years, published in 2009, which saw her eponymous character overcome cancer.
Beloved for his self-important struggles through his teenage years, Mole allowed Townsend to add her own witty social commentary on the Thatcher years right through to Tony Blair’s New Labour when her awkward teenager transformed into a Blairite still obsessed with his original teenage crush Pandora Braithwaite, now an on-message MP.
The books were translated into 48 languages, selling more than 10 million copies, and were adapted for the stage, radio and television, the latter starring Stephen Mangan who today praised Townsend as “one of the warmest, funniest and wisest people I ever met.”
Besides her creation of Mole, the author was known for her plays and non-fiction work as well as a collection of novels, the most recent – The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year – released in 2012.
Townsend was diagnosed with diabetes in the 1980s and was registered blind in 2001 before undergoing a kidney transplant in 2009. She suffered a stroke in December 2012, telling the Oxford Literary Festival in March 2013 that publication of the next Adrian Mole Book had been delayed as a result.
JK Rowling, David Walliams and crime writer Ian Rankin are among those who have paid tribute to Townsend on Twitter:
So sad to hear about Sue Townsend. She gave me so many laughs. #AdrianMoleWillLiveForever
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) April 11, 2014
Sue Townsend, thanks for leaving us with all of your wonderful stories. RIP :(((
— Dawn O'Porter (@hotpatooties) April 11, 2014
Sad to hear about Sue Townsend. Adrian Mole made a huge impact on my childhood. Thank you Sue. X
— Arthur Darvill (@RattyBurvil) April 11, 2014
I was lucky enough to meet the great Sue Townsend once. She was delightful. Adrian Mole was one of the finest comic creations of our time.
— Matt Lucas (@RealMattLucas) April 11, 2014
Farewell, brilliant Sue Townsend. Rest in peace, Adrian Mole. X
— Danny Wallace (@dannywallace) April 10, 2014
So I'm reading The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole and marvelling at it afresh. Newish edition with fine introduction by @davidwalliams.
— Ian Rankin (@Beathhigh) April 11, 2014
Sue Townsend was a comedy genius & wrote some of the funniest books of all time. A lovely lady too- http://t.co/hd5nVO9TcY
— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) April 11, 2014