Brian Jacques, author of the bestselling Redwall series, died after a heart attack on Saturday, February 5. He was 71. Jacques is survived by his wife and two adult sons.

The Redwall fantasy series, set in a world populated with anthropomorphized animals, began in 1986 with Redwall, which was published in the U.S. by Philomel. Since, the series has been published in more than 20 countries and has sold more than 20 million copies. The 22nd and final Redwall title, The Rogue Crew, will be published by Philomel in May. His other books include The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman and its two sequels, two tales starring Urso Brunov, the "Little Father of All Bears," among others.

“For almost 25 years, Brian Jacques lived up to the label of ‘master storyteller,’ ” said Michael Green, president and publisher of Philomel in a statement. “His Redwall novels have touched multi-generations within families and given them something to share, a legacy at which one can only marvel and smile. His greatest legacy, however, remains that of giver. He initially wrote Redwall to entertain the children at Liverpool’s Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, where he would read aloud, giving voice to the many accents, giving aroma and flavor to the famous Redwall Abbey feasts, and giving life to a world in which mice and hares were heroes to the end. The world has lost not only a talented author, but a truly gifted entertainer and champion of children.”

Click here to read an appreciation of Jacques’s life from the Guardian.