Bob Cassilly, the founder of the City Museum has died, according to media sources. He was 61.
"City Museum is saddened by the loss of our founder and inspiration, Robert Cassilly," said a message on the City Museum website.
In University City, Cassilly created the musical lion benches near City Hall at the corner of Delmar and Trinity. The benches were completed in 1999. On one bench sits a lion character playing a horn. The other bench features a lion character playing a lute.
"His lion benches in U City are already an integral part of our City's artistic heritage. I know hundreds of U City children have enjoyed spending time with our lions, climbing on the turtles and serpents in Turtle Park, and discovering all the wonders of the City Museum," said University City Mayor Shelley Welsch in a statement to University City Patch. "He was a visionary. Our community will miss his talents. I am glad U City has a concrete reminder of his genius in his lion benches."
"The City has lost some of its wonder. RIP Bob Cassilly," tweeted St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
People are expressing their sadness at Cassilly's passing on the Facebook page of the City Museum. "This was sincerely soul crushing news today. So sad at his loss... BUT SO DESPERATELY HONORED FOR HIS VISION," wrote one woman named Amy Lambert.
A remembrance page on Facebook features photos of the artist's work.
Cassilly held an art degree from Fontbonne University in .
Dan Callahan contributed to this story.