The visual inspiration for The Sandman's Death, Cinamon Hadley, passed away Saturday, January 6, 2018 following a long battle with colon cancer. Hadley, 48, was a fashion designer.
"Rest in Peace, or head off to your next adventure, Cinamon Hadley," Neil Gaiman tweeted. "You gave Death of the Endless her face and her smile."
Hadley's likeness was borrowed by Death (and Sandman) co-creator Mike Dringenberg in the original concept drawings for the character.
"Death is the only major character whose visuals didn’t spring from me; that credit goes to Mike Dringenberg," Gaiman recounted in the collected edition of Death: The High Cost of Living. "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 Cinamon 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.'"
Hadley approved the usage of her likeness, and appeared at some conventions with Dringenberg following Death's debut.