03/01/2012 05:36 GMT | Updated 04/03/2012 05:12 GMT

Ronald Searle Dead: St Trinian's Cartoonist Dies

St Trinian's cartoonist Ronald Searle has died aged 91.

Searle, whose drawings of the badly-behaved school girls inspired a series of films since the cartoons first appeared in 1941, died at home in France.

A statement released by his family said: "Ronald William Fordham Searle, born 3 March 1920, passed away peacefully in his sleep with his children, Kate and John, and his grandson, Daniel, beside him on 30 December 2011 in Draguignan, France, after a short illness.

"He requested a private cremation with no fuss and no flowers."

Since the first big screen adaptation of St Trinian's - 1954's The Belles of St Trinian's - Searle's work was reimagined in four further films up to 1980 before being revived in 2007 in a version starring Rupert Everett (in drag as headmistress Millicent Fritton) and Gemma Arterton. A follow up, St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold was released in 2009.

Searle was born in 1920 and attended the Cambridge School of Art. He sold his first sketch aged just 15, and later served in World War Two as an engineer before spending over three years as a prisoner of war about being captured in Singapore in 1942. He spend those years drawing in secret and hiding his work under mattresses until he was liberated in 1945.

Searle was a celebrated artist who was awarded France's prestigious Legion d'Honneur in 2007 and regularly appeared in magazines and newspaper across the world, including Punch and the Sunday Express. His work is said to have influenced a broad range of contemporary cartoonists including Matt Groening, the animators of Disney's 101 Dalmatians and John Lennon.

Read Ronald Searle's obituary elsewhere on Huffington Post UK.

Twitter has been awash with tributes to Searle. Here's a round up of some of the best: