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Philanthropist And 'The Simpsons' Co-Creator Sam Simon Dies

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Sam Simon, philanthropist and co-creator of The Simpsons, has died at 59. Simon's reps confirmed that he died of colorectal cancer in his Los Angeles home, Variety reports. Simon was diagnosed with the disease in 2012.

A Los Angeles native and Stanford grad, Simon, was best known for creating The Simpsons in 1989 along with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks. He wrote several early episodes of the show, and retained an executive producer credit after leaving the show in 1993. Simpsons writer Ken Levine referred to Simon as "the real creative force behind The Simpsons…The tone, the storytelling, the humor—that was all developed on Sam's watch."

Simon went on to co-create The George Carlin Show and directed episodes of The Drew Carey Show and Men Behaving Badly. Prior to his work on The Simpsons, Simon worked as a storyboard artist and writer for cartoons The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and wrote for Taxi and Cheers. Simon won nine Emmy awards for his work in television, as well as a Peabody for The Simpsons.

Simon's interests, however, spread far beyond TV. He once managed boxer Lamon Brewster, and was an avid poker player who completed several times in the World Series of Poker.

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Most notably, Simon was an animal lover who gave much of his earnings away to his philanthropic interests. The Sam Simon Charitable Foundation, for instance, works to save stray dogs. The foundation trains the rescued animals as service dogs, who then go on to help those with disabilities or PTSD. The dogs who cannot be trained for those purposes are put up for adoption. The foundation also has a mobile veterinary clinic available to low-income pet owners. Simon also founded the Sam Simon Foundation Feeding Families program, which provides vegan food options to low-income people, as well as animals. In November, Simon paid to save a gay bull from the slaughterhouse.

He also left his fortune to charities.

Simpsons showrunner Al Jean and Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria expressed condolences via Twitter.

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Simon appeared on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast after his diagnosis in 2013.