The Australian‘s longtime editorial cartoonist Bill Leak has died of a heart attack, aged 61.

The paper’s editor-in-chief Paul Whittaker issued an emailed statement to staff today, confirming Leak’s death. He passed away in Gosford Hospital.

“We will miss him dreadfully and our hearts go out to his wife Goong, his stepdaughter Tasha and his sons Johannes and Jasper,” Whittaker said.

Leak has been known in recent years for his controversial right-wing cartoons, which have been derided for featuring racial stereotypes and homophobic sentiments. Though earlier in his career he was known and well-regarded for his Archibald Prize entries, he was later known for his political cartooning and praise from conservatives.

One of his last acts was a book launch on Wednesday, in which he said political correctness was “a poison that attacks the sense of humour” that “infects an awful lot of precious little snowflakes.”

Photo: The Australian.