Sad news for fans of the The Simpsons today as it was revealed that co-developer Sam Simon has passed away.
The accomplished director died on Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 59 after losing his battle with colorectal cancer. The Sam Simon Foundation, which rescues dogs and helps prolong the lives of countless pets in medical need, confirmed the news via Facebook.
Not only was Simon known for his work on The Simpsons, as well as countless other television sitcoms, but he was also famous for his humanitarian efforts and animal activism—previously revealing to NBC News that he planned to donate his entire fortune to animal organizations in need.
Following his passing, a number of celebs, as well as Simpsons' contributors, have expressed their sorrow over Simon's passing, in addition to praising the producer for his positive outlook on life:
Ingrid Newkirk, PETA President: "I think Sam died with a smile on his face, knowing that elephants were on their way out of the circus, something that, together with the closure of SeaWorld, he dreamt of and talked about all the time. He said the last two years of his life, since his diagnosis, were his happiest, as he used them to help animals who had nothing, and it gave him great joy to see chimpanzees, elephants, and even a 'gay' bull find freedom from harm because he had worked with PETA to get them all out of hideous circumstances. One day, people will realize that Sam knew what PETA says is right: 'Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.' I hope everyone who knew Sam or hears about his great kindness to veterans, to animals, and to all will do something kind themselves in his honor. It's a very sad day for us at the Sam Simon Center, PETA's Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters."
James L. Brooks, Simpsons Executive Producer: "He was truly one of the great ones. He found so much outside the work to give him pleasure and left so much behind for others."
Matt Groening, Simpsons Creator/Executive Producer: "We will miss Sam's phenomenal talents, sharp intelligence, and sly sense of humor. He is gone from our industry too soon."
Fox Television Group: "Sam helped establish the tone and world of the Simpsons in the early years of this landmark series, and his contributions live on. His philanthropy was well-known and a source of inspiration for many. We are deeply saddened by his passing."
Nancy Cartwright: "There is no doubt that he was very instrumental in the amazing show we call The Simpsons. My thoughts are with his family at this time."
Al Jean, Simpsons Showrunner: "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."