Gerry Anderson

Gerry Anderson, the creator of the 1960s British sci-fi series Thunderbirds, has died, his son, Jamie, announced Wednesday on his website. He was 83.

Anderson died in his sleep Wednesday after suffering from mixed dementia for several years. His son wrote that although Anderson was diagnosed two years ago, his condition worsened "quite dramatically" in the past six months and he had been moved to a care home in October.

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Anderson's firs television production, which, like Thunderbirds, also employed the use of modified puppets known as "supermarionation", was the 1957 children's series The Adventures of Twizzle. It was followed by Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, and most memorably, Thunderbirds, which premiered in 1965. It was later made into two movies, Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbird 6. He also launched the live-action series Space: 1999 in 1975.

Anderson's career had a resurgence in the 1980s after re-runs  of his supermarionation-style series started airing in the U.K. His later projects included 2005's Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, a remake of the original. Several of Anderson's creations were also adapted for British comics. Anderson was not involved in the 2004 live-action adaptation of Thunderbirds, but his ex-wife Sylvia was.

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"I just wanted to thank everyone for their incredibly kind messages of support, and for sharing their happy childhood memories — inspired by Dad's work. I know Dad would have been blown away by the support, positivity, and kind words," Jamie wrote late Wednesday. "I think the saddest thing would have been if he had passed without being noticed, but the response has been the total opposite. Thank you."

Anderson is survived by his wife, Mary, and four children, Joy, Linda, Gerry Jr. and Jamie.