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"Zürich by Mike" cartoonist is dead at 52

Excuse me! You like a boat ride on Lake Zurich? It's very nice!

(Edition Moderne)

Mike van Audenhove, the American cartoonist who chronicled life in Switzerland's largest city, has died.

The artist, who gained cult status for his weekly strip "Zürich by Mike" in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, suffered a stroke on Sunday in the southern village of Cavigliano. He was 52.

"With the death of Mike van Audenhove, Switzerland loses a great comic artist and for those who knew him, a great and generous man," wrote the Tages-Anzeiger on Tuesday.

Van Audenhove was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1957 to Belgian parents. He moved to Switzerland in 1966 and started drawing comic strips at the age of 12.

He returned to the United States in 1975 to study studio art and economics and returned to Switzerland in 1980. He was a baker, a roofer and a carpenter before his drawings appeared in Swiss broadsheets, in 1988.

In 2006 van Audenhove told swissinfo he used humour to express moral connotations.

"Comic strips are a mirror that allows people to look at themselves and accept their foibles and weaknesses," he said.

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