January 18, 2009

Artist Tony Hart dead at age 83

British artist Tony Hart, known for his illustrations on TV programs such as Saturday Special, died Sunday at the age of 83, his family says.

Hart's family confirmed the host of numerous TV children's shows died of unspecified causes following a long illness that included two strokes during the last few years, The Guardian reported.

Among the TV shows Hart hosted during his career were Take Hart, Hart Beat and Vision On.

One of Hart's most notable creations was the animated Plasticine character Morph, which appeared by his side in numerous 1970s productions.

Hart admitted in a 2008 interview that losing the ability to uses his hands from a recent stroke had a devastating impact on his life. But, he added, he tried to retain a positive outlook on life.

Not being able to draw is the greatest cross that I have to bear, for it has been my lifetime passion. But I endeavor to stay cheerful, as there is nothing to be done about my condition, Hart said.