The Emmy award winner has died from colon cancer

Credit: AKM-GSI

Sam Simon, a co-creator of The Simpsons, died on Sunday. He was 59.

The nine-time Emmy-winning writer and producer was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012. He died in his Los Angeles home surrounded by family and his dog, TMZ reports.

The animal lover, who was an honorary director of PETA, funded a $23 million dog-rescue project in Malibu and worked to shut down roadside zoos and abusive animal shows. He also used his fortune to help fight hunger.

“I get pleasure from it. I love it. I don’t feel like it is an obligation,” Simon said in 2013 of his philanthropic work.

The Stanford graduate, who was not married and had no children, told The Hollywood Reporter that everyone in his family is taken care of, and donating his money to causes he believed in made him happy.

“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,” said Simpsons executive producer Al Jean in a statement.

“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,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement. “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,” she continued. “It’s a very sad day for us at the Sam Simon Center, PETA’s Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters.”