Dick Robinson, the longtime CEO of publisher Scholastic, died Saturday at 84, Publishers Weekly reports.

In a statement, Scholastic’s board of directors said, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dick Robinson. Dick was a true visionary in the world of children’s books and an unrelenting advocate for children’s literacy and education with a remarkable passion his entire life.  The Company’s directors and employees, as well as the many educators, parents and students whose lives he touched, mourn his loss.”

Robinson was a high school English teacher before joining Scholastic in the 1960s. He became CEO in 1975, and under his leadership, the publisher would acquire bestselling books by J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Dav Pilkey.

Authors and readers paid tribute to Robinson on social media.

Romance novelist Sarah MacLean tweeted, “Dick Robinson was the real deal — absolutely committed to the work of building a passion for reading and learning in all children of all ages. My thoughts are with his family and the whole team at Scholastic.”

And publisher Lisa Lucas wrote, “Very sorry to hear the news of Dick Robinson’s passing. He was exceptionally kind to me over the years and, personally, I will miss our chats and his notes very, very, very much. As for the work, there’s so very much to say about his enormous and important legacy.”

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.