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Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson dies

Puppetry pioneer Gerry Anderson has died after suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Anderson changed the face of television after his much ridiculed - but hugely popular tv show, Thunderbirds.

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GERRY Anderson, best known as the creator of Thunderbirds, has died at the age of 83.

The film and television producer, whose credits also included the puppet shows Captain Scarlet and Joe 90, had suffered for several years with mixed dementia and died in his sleep, his son announced on Wednesday.

The news came on his son Jamie Anderson's website. He wrote: ''I'm very sad to announce the death of my father, Thunderbirds creator, Gerry Anderson. He died peacefully in his sleep at midday today [December 26], having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years.''

Gerry Anderson, creator of the Thunderbirds.

Out of this world ... Gerry Anderson.

He requested that fans wishing to make donations in honour of his father should contribute to the Alzheimer's Society.

His website also included a tribute written by Anderson's fan club, known as Fanderson. Nick Williams, the chairman of the club, said: ''To those who met him, Gerry was a quiet, unassuming but determined man. Gerry's legacy is that he inspired so many people and continues to bring so much joy to so many millions of people around the world.''

Gerald Alexander Anderson - famous for the use of ''supermarionation'', or the use of modified puppets - was born in 1929 in Hampstead, north London, and began his career as a film trainee at the Ministry of Information before starting work at Gainsborough Pictures. He later set up AP Films with some friends.

With commissions thin on the ground Anderson and his team were eager to produce their first puppet show, The Adventures of Twizzle. Others including Torchy The Battery Boy, and Supercar followed. Success continued with Fireball XL5 and Stingray.

But it was Thunderbirds, filmed on the Slough Trading Estate in Berkshire, west of London, and first broadcast in 1965 that made his name. With the catchphrase ''Thunderbirds are go!'', the program revolved around International Rescue, a secret emergency service run by the Tracy family aided by London agent Lady Penelope and her butler, Parker.

Gerry Anderson leaves three children from former marriages, Joy, Linda and Gerry jnr, his son Jamie and wife Mary.

Guardian News & Media