'The Simpsons' co-creator Sam Simon dies aged 59

Sam Simon, co-creator of 'The Simpsons' talks while visiting a chinchilla farm in Vista, California in this August 19, 2014 file photo. Simon died at age 59 on March 8, 2015, according to his agent. (Reuters)

Sam Simon, a co-creator of 'The Simpsons' who made a midlife career shift into philanthropy and channeled much of his personal fortune into social causes including animal welfare, has died after a long bout with cancer.

Simon died Sunday, his agent, Andy Patman said. He was 59.

Emmy Award winner was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in 2011 and died at his home in Los Angeles, Sunday.

"A great man; I owe him everything," tweeted "The Simpsons" showrunner Al Jean, adding that his passing was "an enormous loss."

After stints writing for 'Taxi,' 'Cheers' and 'The Tracey Ullman Show,' Simon helped launch 'The Simpsons' in 1989 with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks.

He left the series after its fourth season under a deal that rewarded him with ongoing royalties from the show, which remains in production.

He estimated that his severance package earned him about $10 million a year, according to his IMDB industry database entry.

He established the Sam Simon Foundation, which rescues dogs from animal shelters and trains them to assist the disabled. He also funded a Los Angeles food bank.

He shared seven Primetime Emmy awards for 'The Simpsons' and two for his writing on 'The Tracy Ullman Show,' according to the industry journal.

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