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'Simpsons' co-creator, philanthropist Sam Simon dies at 59

Los Angeles: Sam Simon, a co-creator of "The Simpsons" and animal-rights advocate who made a midlife career shift into philanthropy and channelled much of his personal fortune into social causes, has died.

Simon died Sunday at his home in Pacific Palisades, California, his agent, Andy Patman said. He was 59.

He was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in 2011.

After stints writing for "Taxi," "Cheers" and "The Tracey Ullman Show," Simon helped launch "The Simpsons" in 1989.

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 established the Sam Simon Foundation, which rescues dogs from animal shelters and trains them to assist the disabled.

He also donated to Mercy for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, among other organisations, and funded a Los Angeles food bank.

In an interview in 2013, he voiced a desire to spend all of his money on charitable causes.

"I'm not sad," he declared as he battled an illness that his doctors said might claim him within months.

"I'm happy. I don't feel angry and bitter. I want to do whatever I can to survive."

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