Maurice Sendak, author/illustrator of the beloved Where the Wild Things Are, has died at age 83, reports the New York Times. The cause was complications from a recent stroke, says his editor. The Times offers a glowing profile of Sendak and the many books he was known for penning and illustrating, which were "roundly praised, intermittently censored, and occasionally eaten," writes Margalit Fox. She notes that his "lifelong melancholia"—the result, in part, of a long string of childhood illnesses, being raised in the shadow of the Holocaust, and the homosexuality he hid from his parents—made its way into his books.
But that was, in many ways, a great thing, and advanced the picture book from "the safe, sanitized world of the nursery ... into the dark, terrifying, and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche," writes Fox. Sendak released the first book he both wrote and illustrated in 30 years in September, and addressed his advancing age at the time. "People from New York have been calling, to see if I’m still alive. When I answer the phone, you can hear the disappointment in their voice," he said. It's the kind of dark humor Sendak—who made waves last year by asking "I wonder why people still have children?"—was known for. The posthumous My Brother's Book is due in February 2013. Click to read the Times' lengthy obit, which notes that Sendak often quipped that he never learned how to draw feet. (Read more Maurice Sendak stories.)