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Dr. Seuss' widow, Audrey Geisel, dies at 97

She managed the author's estate after his death and donated thousands of items connected to her late husband.
/ Source: TODAY

Audrey Geisel, the widow of legendary children's book author Dr. Seuss and the longtime overseer of his literary estate, has passed away.

Random House Children's Books announced Geisel died Wednesday at age 97, "peacefully" at her home in La Jolla, California.

Audrey Geisel poses with some of her husband's beloved characters, The Cat in the Hat, foreground, and Thing 1 and Thing 2, at the dedication of Dr. Seuss' posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004. Geisel died Wednesday at age 97.Reed Saxon / AP

Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Geisel, died in 1991 and two years later Audrey Geisel founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises to both protect his beloved stories — including "The Cat in the Hat," "The Lorax" and "Horton Hears a Who" — and to help introduce them to children in the 21st century.

Born Audrey Stone, she met her late husband in the 1960s when both were married to other people. After both marriages ended, the couple married in 1968.

Geisel devotedly oversaw numerous publishing projects of her late husband's work, including the publication of a "lost" Dr. Seuss manuscript,“What Pet Should I Get?” in 2015.

"I totally, wonderfully approve of anything that comes to light at this time of Ted’s work,” Geisel said in a 2011 interview.

Theodor Geisel
Children's book author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, in 1987. AP

She also served as executive producer for several film adaptations of Dr. Seuss stories, most recently "The Grinch," released in theaters last month.

A noted philanthropist, Geisel gave generously to institutions her husband supported, including the San Diego Zoo and UC San Diego.

Over time, she donated more than 12,000 Dr. Seuss items — including original drawings and manuscripts, college notebooks, letters and other memorabilia — to the library at UC San Diego to preserve them for posterity. In 1995, the university’s renamed its central library the Geisel Library in recognition of a $20 million gift from Geisel.

Geisel is survived by two daughters from her first marriage, Leagrey Dimond and Lark Grey Dimond-Cates.