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

Sam Simon has died at the age of 59 after a long battle with colon cancer. Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

Sam Simon, a co-creator of the long-running hit animated series 'The Simpsons,' has died after a battle with colon cancer at the age of 59, his agent said.

Simon won nine Emmy awards for his work as a writer, director and executive producer of 'The Simpsons'.

Ricky Gervais, who like many celebrities has appeared on the popular cartoon, tweeted a tribute.

Simon was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011 and channelled much of his personal fortune into social causes including animal welfare.

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 and also funded a Los Angeles food bank.

The Simpsons pay tribute to David Letterman

The Simpsons have paid tribute to US talk show host David Letterman, who announced he will retire from his programme next year.

The one minute clip shows Homer and his family overcoming a security guard and traffic jam as they make their way to the 'Late Show with David Letterman'.

The sequence then ends with Letterman's longtime bandleader Paul Shaffer conducting a version of The Simpsons theme tune.

Letterman, 66, who began hosting the show in 1993, said he will step down in 2015 which led to tributes from celebrities and US President Barack Obama.

The Simpsons pay blackboard tribute to Marcia Wallace

Bart scribbles the message on the school's blackboard to his old teacher. Credit: Fox News

The Simpsons will pay tribute to Marcia Wallace, the actress who famously voiced teacher Edna Krabappel in the show, with a special farewell scribble on the school's blackboard - by Bart.

In the opening sequence of Sunday night's episode, Bart writes: ‘‘We’ll really miss you Mrs. K".

The 70-year-old actress died last month and played the Springfield Elementary School character for over 20 years.

The show's executive producer, Al Jean, said plans are in place to retire Wallace's "irreplaceable" Ms Krabappel personality.

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