The Hobbit Cover Illustrator Dies - Miami Herald

HELSINKI, Finland -- (AP) -- Finnish writer and artist Tove Jansson, who created the Moomin family of trolls, died Wednesday. She was 86.

The Moomin series, originally written for children, became popular with all ages and has been translated into 34 languages from the original Swedish, making Jansson the most translated author in Finland.

Jansson died in a Helsinki hospital after a long illness, said Christer Timgren, whose company holds the copyright of the Moomin characters.

Jansson wrote and illustrated eight books about the eccentric troll family that always kept its doors open for guests and occasionally served dinners of strawberry jam. The Moomins also appeared in shorter tales and picture books.

The plump, white, hippopotamus-like Moomin trolls became popular in the 1950s as a cartoon series in the London Evening News. In the 1980s, the Moomins were turned into a Japanese-made television series, and in 1993, a Moomin theme park was opened in Naantali, 155 miles west of Helsinki.

Jansson, who studied art in Paris, Helsinki and Stockholm, Sweden, also illustrated children's books, including an edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

She has no known survivors.

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