PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Tony Auth, whose sharp and creative commentary appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 40 years, died of cancer on Sunday. He was 72.
Auth had worked for the past two years as the artist-in-residence at NewsWorks/WHYY, which announced his death.
"Tony Auth was a great cartoonist, a fine journalist and an even better friend," said Chris Satullo, WHYY's vice president for news and civic engagement. Satullo previously served as the Inquirer's editorial page editor, where he also worked with Auth.
Family members told the Inquirer that Auth had been battling brain cancer and recently went into hospice care.
Auth worked at the Inquirer for 41 years starting in 1971. He won the Pulitzer for editorial cartoons in 1976 and was a finalist twice after that.
"As a cartoonist, he was a gem — a journalist who could evoke reactions from readers ranging from anger and indignation to elation and illumination," said Inquirer Editor William K. Marimow.
In 2010, the Pulitzer board praised Auth's "masterful simplicity in expressing consistently fearless positions on national and local issues."
He left the Inquirer amid ownership turmoil in 2012 after having covered eight U.S. presidents and seven Philadelphia mayors.
"He never ever shied away from tackling the major issues of the day. Few journalists in this city have performed their craft with such a combination of compassion and artistic brilliance," said Stan Wischnowski, the Inquirer's editor in 2012 who is now Interstate General Media's executive vice president for news operations.
Auth was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1942 and began drawing at age 5 while bedridden with an unspecified illness, according to a biography on his website.
He became a medical illustrator after earning a bachelor's degree in biological illustration from the University of California in Los Angeles in 1965. He began drawing political cartoons on the side for a weekly alternative publication and then for the Daily Bruin, UCLA's campus newspaper.
Auth also illustrated numerous children's books.
He is survived by his wife and two adult children.