"The Punisher" writer Becky Cloonan released a statement Sunday night regarding the death of collaborator Steve Dillon, whom she described as "a legend."
"The news of Steve Dillon's death made me sick to my stomach," she wrote Sunday night on Facebook. "I still can't believe it. Getting to work with such a legend over the past year has been one of the highlights of my career in comics. 'Preacher' changed everything for me when I was younger -- it changed my perception of what I thought comics could be. It was an honor to write 'Punisher' for him, and I seriously thought he did some of the best work of his career on those pages.
Dillon, the 54-year-old English artist famed for his collaborations with writer Garth Ennis on "Hellblazer," "Preacher" and "The Punisher," passed away over the weekend while still in New York City following New York Comic Con. The New York Times, citing Ennis, reports Dillon's cause of death as a ruptured appendix, which he had initially presumed was food poisoning.
First drawing Frank Castle in 2000 for Marvel's Marvel Knights imprint, Dillon returned to the character several times over the next decade and a half, collaborating with Ennis, Jason Aaron and, beginning earlier this year, Cloonan.
"There was such an outpouring of love for him and his work over the weekend," Cloonan wrote. "Powering through Mondo Con was exhausting, but being surrounded by friends who also knew Steve and his work made it easier. My heart goes out to his family, his friends, his fans, everyone whose lives were touched by his art. RIP."