‘The Simpsons’ pays tribute to late co-creator Sam Simon – watch

Latest episode ends with a 'thank you' message to Simon

The Simpsons has honoured the show’s late co-creator Sam Simon with a video tribute at the end of its latest episode.

The episode which aired in the US on Sunday night (March 15) concluded with a clip from an archive interview with Simon, followed by the message: “One of the greatest comic minds interview. Thank you, Sam.”

Simon passed away at his home in Pacific Palisades, California on March 8 at the age of 59. The writer, director and producer had been diagnosed with terminal colorectal cancer in late 2012 and the disease later spread to other organs including his liver and kidneys.

After spells writing and producing for hit US sitcoms Cheers and Taxi Simon developed The Simpsons with Matt Groening and James L Brooks in 1989. As well as assembling the show’s first writing team, he created the long-running characters Mr Burns and Dr Hibbert.

Simon remained a key member of the show’s creative team for its first four seasons, co-writing eight episodes of the animated sitcom, before leaving in 1993 under a deal with saw him receive sizeable annual royalties from the show.

During his later life Simon worked less frequently in TV and devoted much of his time to philanthropy and advocating for animal rights. In 2002 he set up the Sam Simon Foundation dedicated to rescuing and retraining stray dogs who would otherwise have been put down.

Responding to news of Simon’s death, The Simpsons‘ executive producer Al Jean said: “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.”