Los Angeles: Popular US animated sitcom 'The Simpsons' has apparently lost one of its most recognisable voices. Harry Shearer, who voices Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner, is leaving the series after 26 seasons.

The Simpsons
The Simpsons. Pic/Santa Banta 

"This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work," Shearer shared as he announced the news on Twitter, reports variety.com.

His message suggested that his departure was over a contract dispute. Shearer wrote that the lawyer for 'The Simpsons' producer James L. Brooks' delivered the news: "'Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.'"

Later, he tweeted a message to "Simpsons" fans, thanking them for their support.

Broadcasting company Fox had renewed the venerable series for two more seasons through 2017.

The rest of the 'The Simpsons' voice cast earlier signed two-year extensions, logging on for seasons 27 and 28, with Shearer being the only one holding out.

Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, and Hank Azaria are all still set to return for the next two seasons. Production on season 27 has already begun without Shearer.