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‘Peanuts’ Creator Leaves Hospital

November 29, 1999

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) _ Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, who was diagnosed with colon cancer two weeks ago, could be released from the hospital this week.

Schulz has been undergoing chemotherapy at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital since the cancer was discovered Nov. 16. He has lived in Santa Rosa, which is about 60 miles north of San Francisco, for 40 years and has been active in the community.

``It looks like Sparky will be going home midweek sometime,″ said Edna Poehner, his secretary and family friend, using Schulz’s nickname.

Poehner said that Schulz, who turned age 77 on Friday, has been ``doing a fair amount of walking″ at the hospital. His colon cancer was discovered while undergoing emergency surgery to remove a blockage in his abdominal aorta.

The cartoonist, whose artistry has brought him and the cast of ``Peanuts″ worldwide fame, has received a ``mind-boggling amount″ of cards and letters wishing him well, Poehner said Sunday.

Schulz’s release from the hospital will come just a few days before the opening of the city’s annual holiday ice show, which he normally personally oversees from rehearsals to performances.

Last year, the show drew a total of 41,000 people to 37 performances. Schulz’s love for skating prompted him to build the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, where the show is held. Schulz also started an annual senior hockey tournament there.

``Peanuts″ appears in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries in 21 languages, and Schulz draws, colors and letters every panel himself. His contract forbids anyone else from drawing it, and the new strips will end when he dies.

Schulz had already completed daily comic strips through the end of the year and Sunday strips through Feb. 14. If those run out before he is back on the job, the syndicate will substitute strips from the last five years.

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