Albert Uderzo, a creator of French hero Asterix, dies at 92

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FILE - In this Oct.23, 2005 file photo, French author and illustrator Albert Uderzo waves from behind a cardboard cutout showing his comic heroes Asterix and Obelix at the 57th Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Albert Underzo, one of the two creators of the beloved comic book character Asterix, who captured the spirit of the Gauls of yore and grew a reputation worldwide, died early Tuesday March 24, 2020. He was 92.(AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach, File)

PARIS – Albert Uderzo, one of the two creators of the beloved comic book character Asterix, who captured the spirit of the Gauls of yore and grew a reputation worldwide, died on Tuesday. He was 92.

The French press quoted family members as saying that Uderzo died of a heart attack in the Paris suburb of Neuilly.

Asterix, portrayed as a short man with a droopy mustache always wearing a helmet with wings, was created in the early 1960s by Uderzo and Rene Goscinny. The character lived in a village in Gaul, present-day France, resisting Roman conquerors, along with his inseparable big-bellied friend, Obelix.

“Albert Uderzo died in his sleep at his Neuilly home of a heart attack with no links to the coronavirus,” the French press quoted his son-in-law, Bernard de Choisy, as saying. “He had been very tired for several weeks.”

French Culture Minister Franck Riester said that Uderzo “found the magic potion,” referring to his spirit, craftsmanship and long hours of work. Riester may also have been making a reference to the famous magic potion in the Asterix series, which gave the hero and his fellow villagers temporary superhuman strength.

“Supreme nobility, he accepted that his heroes survive him for the happiness of the public,” Riester said.

Uderzo initially illustrated the characters created along with writer Rene Goscinny. Together, they created 24 comic books. After Goscinny's death in 1977, Uderzo also took over the comic books' writing duties, deciding to continue without his creative partner.

Goscinny's daughter, Anne, called the two men “brothers” and praised Uderzo's “courage” for continuing without his collaborator.