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'Simpsons' creator (and saviour of Benji the bull) Sam Simon dies

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In this October 18 photo, director/writer Sam Simon, left, and actor Martin Sheen pose. Emmy-award winning Sam Simon, who co-created "The Simpsons" and also wrote episodes of "Taxi" and "Cheers," has died aged 59. Simon, who developed "The Simpsons" in the late 1980s with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, died of colorectal cancer on March 8 (Getty Images)

In this October 18 photo, director/writer Sam Simon, left, and actor Martin Sheen pose. Emmy-award winning Sam Simon, who co-created "The Simpsons" and also wrote episodes of "Taxi" and "Cheers," has died aged 59. Simon, who developed "The Simpsons" in the late 1980s with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, died of colorectal cancer on March 8 (Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

In this October 18 photo, director/writer Sam Simon, left, and actor Martin Sheen pose. Emmy-award winning Sam Simon, who co-created "The Simpsons" and also wrote episodes of "Taxi" and "Cheers," has died aged 59. Simon, who developed "The Simpsons" in the late 1980s with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, died of colorectal cancer on March 8 (Getty Images)

Sam Simon, the co-creator of 'The Simpsons', has died at the age of 59.

He was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2012 and over the last few years concentrated his energies on giving away his life's earnings to charity

"It is with much sadness that we must let you know that Sam Simon has passed over. We all miss him and, in his honour, we will continue bringing his vision to light through our work at The Sam Simon Foundation. We take comfort in knowing how many greetings he is receiving across that Rainbow Bridge. We love you Sam!" said a statement from his foundation.

The writer-director and philanthropist was told in 2012 that he had a maximum of six months left to live.

After surviving the diagnosis, Simon announced that he was planning to donate $100m of his fortune to charity, focusing primarily on animal organisations, and on charities dedicated to helping the homeless.

Passion

At the time, he said: "I think that my passion for the animals and against animal abuse is based on the knowledge that these creatures who feel and think can't speak for themselves and they're dependent on us for that," he said in an interview last year.

"I'm supporting the charities that I supported during my lifetime, and I want to continue to do that," he said, in an interview he gave in 2013.

The Sam Simon Foundation, dedicated to rescuing and re-homing stray dogs, was set up in 2002.

In December 2014, his generosity touched Ireland when he intervened to save Benji the famous non-performing gay bull.

Commenting on Benji's plight, he said: "It thrills me to know that his fate is in a sanctuary rather than a sandwich. For Benji to have been killed because of his sexual orientation would have been a double tragedy."

Although Mr Simon's health prevented him from visiting Benji, the US animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals kept him updated on the bull's progress in the Norwich sanctuary that is now his home.

Irish Independent