Ken Spears, the animation icon who co-created Scooby-Doo, has died at the age of 82.
Via Variety, his son Kevin Spears confirmed that he died from complications of Lewy body dementia.
“Ken will forever be remembered for his wit, his story-telling, his loyalty to family, and his strong work ethic,” he said.
“Ken has not only made a lasting impression on his family, but he has touched the lives of many as co-creator of ‘Scooby-Doo.’ Ken has been a role model for us throughout his life and he will continue to live on in our hearts.”
Watch: Tracy Morgan on his earliest memory of Scooby-Doo
Spears began his career in animation in 1959, after joining the iconic Hanna-Barbera company as a sound editor.
There he met Joe Ruby, and together they created series including Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Dog Wonder and Jabberjaw, before found their own animation company, Ruby-Spears, in 1977.
From there, they created shows like Alvin and the Chipmunks, the A-Team spin-off Mister T cartoon series, and the Police Academy animated series.
RIP to Ken Spears.
Spears and Joe Ruby co wrote the first 5 episodes of “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You” and either wrote or story edited the rest of the series.
He will be greatly missed.#scoobydoohistory pic.twitter.com/VF7sHQjZQZ
— Scooby-Doo History (@scoobyhistory) November 9, 2020
In a statement, Warner Bros also paid tribute to Spears' work.
“Warner Bros. Animation is saddened to learn of the passing of Ken Spears and we send our warmest thoughts to his loved ones. He was a true innovator in the industry whose gifts of humor and storytelling continue to delight audiences,” said Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios.
“You cannot find a screen in the world that has not played a version of Scooby-Doo. We continue to be inspired by his work at Warner Bros. Animation and are honored to carry on the legacy of his beloved characters.”
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