'The stories will be the last thing to go': Beloved children's author Robert Munsch reveals he has dementia

By Zach Harper

Beloved Canadian children's author Robert Munsch has revealed he has dementia.

The 76-year-old opened up about his health issues in an interview with the CBC's Shelagh Rogers over the weekend.

"I can't drive, I can't ride a bicycle, I can't write," he heartbreakingly said. "So it's been really whittling away on who I thought I was. I kind of thought I would like to do this interview as a last hurrah."

The Guelph, Ont. father of three is known for such classics as The Paper Bag Princess, Love You Forever, 50 Below Zero, Murmel Murmel Murmel and Jonathan Cleaned Up – Then He Heard a Sound. Many of his books were equally known for the gorgeous illustrations of Michael Martchenko. While he said the difficulties he's been experiencing have been very hard on him, he also told the host he still remembers all of his output.

"My stories, strangely enough, are all there," he said. "The stories will be the last thing to go, I think."

Not only is Robert is a favourite of Canadians and young readers and their parents around the world, but his books and writing have attracted celebrity fans. Oprah Winfrey once told David Letterman that Love You Forever was her favourite children's book, and The Paper Bag Princess has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide.

The news prompted Canadians and people worldwide who have been affected by Robert's storytelling to share how much his books have meant to them.

Robert is known for his exuberant personality, which he brought to his Canada's Walk of Fame star ceremony in 2009. Photo: © George Pimentel

"Our elementary school librarian wrote to Robert Munsch for over a decade asking him to come to our small island school," Geraldine McGoo tweeted. "One day, he showed up out of the blue and the school stopped for a day. He told stories to everyone from K-8th grade.

"I was friends with a younger girl who had Down syndrome. Her favourite books were Robert Musnch books. He took extra time to talk to this girl and I (who had learning differences myself that were very obvious). I'll never, ever forget the kindness of Robert Munsch."

"The entirety of Canada hearing the news about Robert Munsch," Kelly Turnbull wrote, posting two pages from Love You Forever that show the young man from the book

"Robert Munsch phoned our house one time (we're from Guelph)," another person wrote. 'My son, who was about 8 at the time, picked up and yelled, 'Robert Lunch is on the phone.' I said, 'No, honey, it's Robert Munsch.' My son replied, 'Robert Munsch would NOT be phoning YOU.'"

In addition to all of his sales, Robert is also a member of the Order of Canada and has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto. There are also two public schools named after him in Ontario.

We'll love you forever and like you for always, Robert! Thank you for being such a huge part of so many Canadians' childhoods.

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