It's been reported that legendary Peanuts producer Lee Mendelson, who produced — among others — A Charlie Brown Christmas, has passed away at the age of 86. According to CNN, Mendelson died of congestive heart failure after a long battle with cancer, per his family.
In a statement issued by Mendelson's son, Jason, the family revealed they were extremely heartbroken over his passing, but saw a light in the timing.
"We are very sad to lose our wonderful father, but Lee would have said it was serendipitous to pass on Christmas when the song he wrote with Vince Guaraldi is being heard everywhere and the program he created with Charles Schulz and Bill Melendez is being celebrated around the world," the statement read. "While it was not a great time for us, it was not a bad time for him to pass."
The @schulzmuseum would like to recognize the passing of Lee Mendelson who died on December 25th at the age of 86. Lee Mendelson, Charles M. Schulz, and Bill Melendez (L-R) produced fifty television specials and four animated feature films. [📸: R. Smith Kiliper] pic.twitter.com/y5ue9X8rdi— Charles M. Schulz Museum (@SchulzMuseum) December 27, 2019
Many have since commented on Mendelson's passing.
"RIP Lee Mendelson, as a huge Snoopy fan, thank you for all the Peanuts movies that have captivated my past and in the future will reach many viewers," wrote one user.
"Sad news. Whenever I've felt down, Peanuts has helped me smile again. When I've been happy, Peanuts has been there to be make me even happier. Great team behind those wonderful characters. Farewell Lee Mendelson, you helped to help people more than you knew," added another.
I’m sad to hear that Lee Mendelson passes away at the age of 86. Along with Bill Melendez, he was responsible for helping bring Peanuts and Garfield into animation and has a huge legacy of award winning animated TV specials. I’ll really miss him. pic.twitter.com/e38smuJGUY— Animated Antic (@Animated_Antic) December 27, 2019
"Damn. I just found out that Lee Mendelson, the producer of the majority of the Peanuts cartoons, passed away on Christmas," another user tweeted. "If it weren’t for him being having to make A Charlie Brown Christmas as quickly as possible, we wouldn’t have the iconic characters in animation. R.I.P."
"Lee Mendelson changed Christmas forever when he produced A Charlie Brown Christmas. What a day to go out on. Prayers to his family and close friends. We lost an important figure in television history," one final user wrote.