Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons, passed away today at his home in Los Angeles following a years-long battle with cancer, Variety reports. He was 59 years old.
Simon developed The Simpsons in 1989 alongside Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, and co-wrote more than a dozen episodes before jumping ship in 1993. He retained an executive producer title even after he left the show, and went on the direct and consult on sitcoms like The Drew Carey Show and Anger Management. Before his Simpsons tenure, the nine-time Emmy winner penned episodes of Taxi and Cheers, and became the Taxi showrunner at just 24 years old.
Sad news for Springfield
Simon was diagnosed with terminal colorectal cancer in 2012 and told comedian Marc Maron that his prognosis was originally three to six months. Given such a small time to live, Simon decided to donate most of his money to charity. By 2012, he had given millions to the Sea Shepherd Society, a marine life conservation organization. But Simon had been a philanthropist for years: in 2002, he began working with PETA and founded Miami's Sam Simon Foundation, which provides food to both humans and animals in need. That foundation included a program that trained rescue dogs to respond to the needs of deaf people.
Simpsons show-runner Al Jean confirmed Simon's death in a tweet today:
In a 2013 interview, Simon said, "I've had the most idyllic life anyone could have, and I'm aware of that."