Charles Schulz, the creator of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the entirePEANUTS gang, has decided that he will retire in order to concentrate onbeating his newly diagnosed cancer. This desicion will end almost fivedecades of Schulz's world-famous comic. Schulz, who has always refused tolet another artist draw PEANUTS, said he would stop producing new dailypanels as of January 3, 2000 but allow his syndicators to recycle comicstrips from 1974 if newspapers still wanted to run the strip. On a dailybasis, Peanuts is published in more than 2,600 newspapers around the world,reaching 355 million readers in 75 countries and 21 languages. There havebeen more than 50 Peanuts animated TV specials, more than 1,400 booksselling 300 million copies and four feature films, not to mention museumretrospectives and Web page tributes. The first Peanuts strip appeared inseven newspapers on October 2, 1950. Since then, Peanuts became the mostwidely syndicated comic strip in history. Schulz will retire to his home inSanta Rosa, about 50 miles north of San Francisco, where he will focus onhis recovery. "I have always wanted to be a cartoonist, and I feel veryblessed to have been able to do what I loved for almost 50 years," the77-year-old Schulz said in an open letter to his friends and fansworldwide. "That all of you have embraced Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy andLinus and all the other Peanuts characters has been a constant motivationfor me." Good grief! What shall we read on a Sunday morning? We salute themaster and wish for a quick and easy recovery.