ENTERTAINMENT
10/03/2015 03:46 GMT | Updated 10/03/2015 03:59 GMT

Sam Simon Dead: ‘The Simpsons' Co-Creator Dies, Aged 59

Sam Simon, who co-created ‘The Simpsons’, has died at the age of 59.

The writer, director and executive producer of the hit animated series had been battling colon cancer.

In 1989 he developed ‘The Simpsons’ with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, and subsequently co-wrote nearly a dozen episodes.

sam simon

Sam Simon (1955-2015)

Sam led the show's writing team and is widely credited with developing the characters that feature in the show.

He won seven Emmy awards for his work on the longest-running sitcom on American television, which first aired in 1989.

He left the show in 1993 after four series, but retained his Executive Producer role.

fox

Sam worked on 'The Simpsons' from 1989 until 1993

He continued to receive between $20 million and $30 million each year from the series and said he wanted to donate all of his fortune to charity.

After his diagnosis, Simon started buying zoos and circuses to free animals.

In 2002, he founded the non-profit Sam Simon Foundation which is devoted to rescuing dogs from shelters and training them to assist the disabled.

"I have a desire to help animals," Simon said in an interview with Reuters in 2014. "It's my money and I get to do what I want with it. It's an expensive hobby I picked up at the end of my life."

Following the news of his death, fellow ‘Simpsons’ producer Al Jean, tweeted: “A great man; I owe him everything.”

Photo galleryMusician Cameos On 'The Simpsons' See Gallery

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER