The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon dies

The award-winning writer and director had been battling cancer for several years

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Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon has died at the age of 59.

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The award-winning director and writer had been battling colon cancer since 2012.

Simpsons showrunner Al Jean confirmed the sad news on Twitter last night:

A noted philanthropist and animal lover, Simon was also commemorated by his charity the Sam Simon Foundation, which provides service dogs to veterans of conflict.

“For those of us who knew him, his voice will forever echo in our minds; his sense of humor will continue to make us laugh; and his compassion and generosity will continue to impact our lives,” read a statement from the Foundation to TMZ.

Simon won seven Emmy awards for his work on The Simpsons, which he developed with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks from 1989 before leading the show’s writing staff for the first four seasons.

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After leaving the show he continued to share in its profits, though in recent years he donated much of his money to charity. Simon is also known for writing episodes of other hit sitcoms including Cheers and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and directing work including an episode of Friends.