Chibi Maruko-chan Manga Volume 1 CoverFarewell, great creator. Thank you for welcoming us into your world for so many years.

Earlier today, the official Chibi Maruko-chan anime website announced that series creator Momoko Sakura passed away. She was 53. According to the update, Sakura succumbed to breast cancer on August 15.

In a final update to her blog, Sakura stated “I’ve always appreciated that I was able to draw my work, and enjoy doing it. It’s my wish and hope that we’ll be able to keep having fun in the future.”

Momoko Sakura was born in Shimuzu, Shizuoka Prefecture in May 1965. Her work, Chibi Maruko-chan, was a semi-autobiographical work, which was based on her own childhood.

The Chibi Maruko-chan manga ran from August 1986 through June 1996 in Shueisha’s Ribon magazine. The title spanned fifteen compiled volumes, which sold a combined 31 million copies.

The title spawned two anime TV series by Nippon Animation, one which ran from 1990 – 1992, as well as an ongoing series. Jun Takagi (Coji-Coji, Legend of the Condor Hero) is directing the current show, while Hideyuki Funakoshi (Kaiketsu Zorori) provides character designs. TARAKO plays the titular Maruko-chan.

Sources: Asahi Shimbun, Comic Natalie