Cinnamon Hadley, fashion designer and the inspiration for the character Death in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comics passed away on January 6th 2018 at the age of 48. She was diagnosed with colon cancer early last year and underwent treatment.

“Death is the only major character whose visuals didn’t spring from me; that credit goes to Mike Dringenberg. In my original Sandman outline, I suggested Death look like rock star Nico in 1968, with the perfect cheekbones and perfect face she has on the cover of her Chelsea Girl album.

But Mike Dringenberg had his own ideas, so he sent me a drawing based on a woman he knew named Cinnamon Hadley – the drawing that was later printed in Sandman 11 – and I looked at it and had the immediate reaction of: “Wow. That’s really cool”. Later that day, Dave McKean and I went to dinner in Chelsea at the My Old Dutch Pancake House and the waitress who served us was a kind of vision. She was American, had long black hair, was dressed entirely in black – black jeans, T-shirt, etc. – and wore a big silver ankh on a silver necklace. And she looked exactly like Mike Dringenberg’s drawing of Death.”

-Neil Gaiman

Here’s Gaiman’s tweet on Hadley’s passing: