Sam Simon, The Simpsons

Joe Kohen/FilmMagic

Sam Simon, one of the co-developers of the long-running animated series The Simpsons, passed away Sunday in Los Angeles of colorectal cancer. He was 59.

"It is with much sadness that we must let you know that Sam Simon has passed over," the Sam Simon Foundation wrote on Facebook Monday afternoon. "We all miss him, and in his honor, we will continue bringing his vision to light through our work at The Sam Simon Foundation. We take comfort in knowing how many greetings he is receiving across that Rainbow Bridge. We love you Sam!"

The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean also confirmed the news by tweeting his condolences. ".@TheSimpsons #EverySimpsonsEver Just heard terrible news of death of @SimonSam," he tweeted. "A great man; I owe him everything."

He added in a statement to E! News, "He was a genius and a great humanitarian in ways public and private. I personally owe him more than can be repaid, but I will do my best to help every animal I can in his memory."

Simon helped fund the Sam Simon Foundation, which rescues dogs and helps prolong the lives of countless pets in medical need. He later revealed to NBC News that he was giving away his entire fortune to animal organizations in need. 

"I think that my passion for the animals and against animal abuse is based on the knowledge that these creatures who feel and think can't speak for themselves," he told Maria Shriver. "I feel it's my responsibility to speak for those who can't speak for themselves." 

Fans may also recognize the nine-time Emmy winner for his work on countless television productions including The Simpsons.

Back in 1989, Simon helped develop the popular Fox series with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks. He left the show in 1993 while remaining an executive producer. 

"You can draw animals and sets but the animated characters also have freedom," he told Variety when asked why he loved his job so much. "The Simpsons sometimes do things that real people wouldn't do."

Outside of The Simpsons, Simon served as a producer for familiar shows including The Tracey Ullman Show, The George Carlin Show, Cheers, Taxi and The George Carlin Show.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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