Acclaimed children's book author Eric Carle, best known for his classic story "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," has died at the age of 91.
US media said Carle died of kidney failure on Sunday at his studio in the US state of Massachusetts, with family members at his side.
Carle was born in 1929 in upstate New York. He published his first children's book, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" in 1967.
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar," which tells the story of a green and red caterpillar that changes into a proudly multicolored butterfly, was published in 1969. The book has been translated into more than 60 languages, and sold more than 50 million copies.
On his official website, a family statement said, "In the light of the moon, holding on to a good star, a painter of rainbows is now travelling across the night sky."
The Japanese translation of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has been available since 1976.
In response to the news of Eric Carle's death, a children's book shop in Tokyo, Crayonhouse, has set up a commemorative section featuring books by the author, along with toys that are associated with his fictional characters.
A woman who visited the shop on Thursday said her three-year-old child really loves "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and reads it every day. She said young children are captivated by the bright colors in the illustrations. She said the appeal of the book has not faded at all, and she thinks it will continue to be read by children for many years to come.
Carle visited Crayonhouse when he came to Japan about 20 years ago.
Crayonhouse manager Ito Yasuna said "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" has often been passed down from generation to generation within a family. She said Carle is probably one of the best known foreign children's authors for Japanese families with young kids.
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" was first published in the US in 1969. It was printed by a firm in Japan as no US company would take on the job because of the challenge posed by the book's different-shaped pages.