Creator of beloved Argentina cartoon character Mafalda dies at 88

FILE PHOTO: Argentine cartoonist Joaquin Lavado, also known by his pen name Quino, poses in front of an image of his most famous comic character Mafalda during the opening ceremony of the exhibition of his works at the Museo del Humor in Buenos Aires June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine cartoonist Quino, the creator of Mafalda, the inquisitive and quick-witted girl who used humor and irony to call for greater democracy in the crisis-prone country, has died at the age of 88, his editor reported Wednesday.

Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known as Quino, recently suffered a stroke and, despite the fact that doctors managed to temporarily stabilize him, his condition worsened, local media reported.

"Quino died. All the good people in the country and the world will mourn him," said Daniel Divinsky, his long-time editor, on Twitter.

Quino created Mafalda, an Argentine girl of about five or six with bulging black hair and strong political views. The cartoon was eventually published in 27 languages.

He was able to use Mafalda's apparent innocence to spread scathing criticism of the dictatorships that plagued Latin America from the 1960s, including Argentina's 1966-1973 military dictatorship.

After a failed 1987 coup against President Raul Alfonsin, Quino published a cartoon of Mafalda saying "Yes to democracy! Yes to justice! Yes to freedom! Yes to life!"

(Reporting by Lucila Sigal, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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