Strange news at this time of celebration: Philippe Goddin, the editor of the massive ouevre catalogue of Hergé’s that is being published these years and author of an upcoming biography, has just stated in an interview that he is convinced that Hergé died not of leukemia as has hitherto been the belief, but of AIDS. He would have been infected through one of the weekly blood transfusions he was taking for a rare hereditary disease he was suffering from (at the time, transfusions were carried out without checking for HIV infection). “He started being plagued by influenzas, pneumonia and repeated bronchitis, none of which seemed related to the disease he had been suffering from for years,” says Goddin.

Complications connected with AIDS being the cause of death has previously been speculated upon by biographers Assouline and Peeters, but this is the firmest statement yet. Not that any of it really matters, I guess. Just chilling to be have those years when HIV was not yet on most people’s radar suddenly associated with an icon of one’s childhood during that same period.