Author and illustrator STAN BERENSTAIN, who created the hit Berenstain Bears children's book series with his wife, has died. He was 82.

The writer passed away in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, on Saturday (26NOV05) of complications from cancer.

The successful husband and wife partnership saw over 200 Berenstain Bear titles hit book shop shelves, with the aim of teaching toddlers to read.

Their popularity saw adaptations on US PBS public TV network follow, while the couple also created two children's musicals.

Stan Berenstain is survived by his wife JAN, sons LEO and MICHAEL, a sister and four grandchildren. It is expected that Jan will continue the book series without her spouse.