Footrot Flats creator Murray Ball has died aged 78.
Ball’s longtime friend and collaborator Tom Scott said he heard at around 1pm today that the legendary Kiwi cartoonist had passed.
Stuff.co.nz reported that Ball had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and had been nursed at his home in Gisborne on New Zealand’s north island.
Ball created Footrot Flats in the mid 70s, basing the main character Wal roughly on his cousin and the Dog on his own border collie, Finn.
The cartoon became a defining work for both Ball and New Zealand, eventually inspiring a musical, a theme park and famously a feature-length animated film — the first to ever come out of NZ.
Footrot Flats ran for 18 years in newspapers and in book form for over 20 years, becoming a cultural phenomenon in Australia as well.
The later books are rare in Australia and can be worth a lot of money.
Ball, whose father Nelson was an All-Black, is survived by his wife, Pam, and his children.