The celebrated author of children's books, Maurice Sendak, died Tuesday at a Connecticut hospital, The New York Times said. He was 83.

Sendak, who won overnight fame in 1963 with the publication of "Where the Wild Things Are," died of complications following a recent stroke, his editor, Michael di Capua, told the daily.

Sendak's stories, which introduced young readers to a magic world of rich visuals and entrancing tales, have been essential reading for the generation of U.S. children born after 1960.

Though his literary work ventures into many fields, Sendak is mainly known for about a dozen stories he illustrated himself, including "Where the Wild Things Are," which won him the American Library Association's prestigious Caldecott Medal and remains among the best-selling children's books worldwide.

The author of "In the Night Kitchen" also won, in 1996, the National Medal of the Arts, presented to him by President Bill Clinton.

Sendak, critics say, set an example because he never limited his work to the safe, conventional formulas so faithfully followed by other authors of children's stories - he could also let the reader see the human psyche's darker side.

Sendak made it clear that he did not feel at all uncomfortable breaking with U.S. kiddie lit traditions. For example, many of his books feature heroes and heroines that, contrary to the conventional approach, do not behave at all well - they can be stubborn and even revolting.