“The Twilight Children,” as illustrated by Darwyn Cooke. (courtesy of DC/Vertigo 2015)

This post has been updated.

THE WORD first spread Friday that Darwyn Cooke, the Canadian cartooning great, was receiving palliative care, according to wife Marsha Cooke. A day later, the suddenness turned to shock: Darwyn Cooke had died, at age 53, after battling lung cancer.

Even some who had worked closely with Cooke had only lately learned of his sickness. “I didn’t know Darwyn was so ill until very recently,” Gilbert Hernandez, who collaborated with Cooke on DC/Vertigo’s “The Twilight Children,” tells The Post’s Comic Riffs.

Last fall, Hernandez praised Cooke’s acclaimed gifts, explaining that since Cooke such had a smooth and likable drawing style, his job was to “put in my strengths and step out of the way and let him interpret [the story] himself, which he did beautifully.”

Cooke was widely admired as both masterful storyteller and clean, inviting stylist — and was warmly embraced by those who knew him personally.

“The short weekend I spent with him during NYCC 2015 was great — we got along swimmingly and were excited about working together on future projects,” Hernandez tells Comic Riffs. ” ‘The Twilight Children’ wouldn’t have been such a rewarding success for me without him. Before I knew he was ill, I’d been vocal about how happy I was with ‘The Twilight Children,’ and I’m so glad he heard me say it several times when we were interviewed together.

“I’ll continue to sing his praises as an artist and cool guy every chance I get. Because it’s all true.”

The outpouring of affection for the man and the talent was quick and heartfelt. Here is what some industry figures said on social media: