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Tomie dePaola, author and illustrator, dies at 85

March 31 (UPI) -- Tomie dePaola, a children's book author and illustrator known for Strega Nona, has died at age 85.

dePaola's assistant, Bob Hechtel, announced the author's death in a Facebook post Monday.

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"Our collective hearts are broken," Hechtel said.

dePaola's literary agent, Doug Whiteman, said in a statement to CNN that dePaola died Monday at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. dePaola died after experiencing complications from a surgery for a fall he had in his studio.

Whiteman said dePaola was alone at the time of his death. The author is survived by two sisters and several nieces and nephews.

"Due to the coronavirus and a quarantine at the hospital where he was being treated, Mr. dePaola was in isolation when he died," Whiteman said.

Penguin Books publishing house confirmed dePaola's death in a tweet Monday.

"Beloved author and illustrator Tomie dePaola passed away today. He was 85 years old," the post reads. "He will be deeply missed."

dePaola authored nearly 300 books, including Strega Nona, 26 Fairmount Avenue, The Art Lesson, Bill and Pete and Little Grunt and the Big Egg. Strega Nona was a Caldecott Honor book, while 26 Fairmont Avenue was a Newbery Honor recipient.

Notable deaths of 2020

Richard Thornburgh
Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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