TOKYO -- Momoko Sakura, the author of the immensely popular manga series "Chibi Maruko-chan (Little Maruko)," died of breast cancer on Aug. 15, her production company announced on its website on Aug. 27. She was 53.
Sakura made her debut as a cartoonist in 1984, and her main work about the daily life of a third grader started to appear in the "Ribon" comic magazine in 1986. The comic series proved extremely successful and has been adapted into a television series and animation films.
Sakura's production company said in a web post announcing her death that it is "deeply grateful" for the fans and people close to the author. It also quoted Sakura's statement on the 30th anniversary of her debut as a professional manga artist that she is very happy.