GERRY ANDERSON, the man behind 1960s televisions classics Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet, died today.

Mr Anderson, who lived in Nuffield near Henley and was 83, passed away in his sleep at midday, his son Jamie said.

The TV producer and his former wife Sylvia were behind a string of successful marionette puppet shows including Joe 90, Stingray, and Captain Scarlet. The most successful, though, was Thunderbirds.

His son said in a post on his own website this afternoon: "I’m very sad to announce the death of my father, Thunderbirds creator, Gerry Anderson.

"He died peacefully in his sleep at midday today, having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years. He was 83.

"Please make donations in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Society via this just giving link:"

Mr Anderson had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease since early 2010.

Having been diagnosed with mixed dementia at the age of 81, he and his son Jamie became active supporters of Alzheimer's Society, recently taking part in the Society's flagship fundraiser Memory Walk.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer's Society, said: "Gerry Anderson has been an outstanding supporter of Alzheimer's Society and campaigner on behalf of people with dementia.

"He was determined, despite his own recent diagnosis, to spend the last year of his life speaking out for others living with dementia to ensure their voices were heard and their lives improved."

He is survived by his wife and four children.

  • Mr Anderson starts the Memory Walk 2012