Sad news for The Simpsons' fans this morning: Margaret Groening, the woman who paved the way for Marge (voiced by Julie Kavner) and her big blue hair has passed away aged 94.

Margaret, the mammy of The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, died in her sleep in Portland, Oregon on April 22nd. Her death was announced in an obituary notice in a local newspaper, The Oregonian. The former English teacher was known as a talented needlework artist, and she and her family proved fairly central to the development of her son's hit TV series.

For example, Chief Wiggum got his surname from Matt's mammy (her maiden name was Wiggum), while Homer was named for the creator's own father, Homer Groening, who was a World War II veteran and cartoonist. Guess the apple didn't fall too far from the tree there.

A spokesman for The Simpsons confirmed that Mrs Groening had passed away, adding that her son was not available for comment.