The Dutch children's writer and illustrator died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday night (16Feb17) in Utrecht, Netherlands, his publisher confirmed on Friday (17Feb17).

Bruna was born into a family of publishers and began his career illustrating the covers of books including Ian Fleming's James Bond series.

He became loved around the world for his famous Miffy books, which he created in 1955.

Known as Nijntje in Dutch, Miffy followed the adventures of a small female bunny as she spent time with her friends and family.

He made a total of 30 tales dedicated to the character during his life, with the Miffy books selling over 80 million copies worldwide.

Speaking to The Telegraph back in 2008, Bruna revealed he never kept track of how much money the stories garnered for him. He also spoke about the process of drawing the adorable rabbit, explaining how he sketched her while crying.

"I very often start with three or four tears. I take away one, and the next day I take away another one, and at the end I have one tear, and that's very, very sad," he said. "I never went to art school, you know. I don't know if I'm an artist or this or that..."