Creator of the popular Family Circus comic strip, Bil Keane, died of congestive heart failure Tuesday, Nov. 8 at his home in Paradise Valley, AZ the Associated Press reports. He was 89.
Keane's one-panel strip, which he created in February of 1960, featured the now-widely-known children Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, P.J. and their parents and was carried by nearly 1,500 newspapers throughout the country.
The artist's son, Jeff, had taken over the comic in recent years after his father's retirement.
Jeff told the AP Keane had one of his other sons by his side when he died, and was visited by all of his five children and nine grandchildren and also great-grandchildren in the last week.
"He said, 'I love you' and that's what I said to him, which is a great way to go out," Jeff told the AP of the last conversation he had with his father. "The great thing is Dad loved the family so much, so the fact that we all saw him, I think that gave him great comfort and made his passing easy. Luckily he didn't suffer through a lot of things."
Keane was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1922 and taught himself to draw in high school.