Don Payne, a co-executive producer of “The Simpsons” and Emmy-winning writer, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday after losing his battle with cancer. He was 48 years old.
John Frink, Payne’s friend and former writing partner, informed the Los Angeles Times that Payne succumbed to bone cancer in his home on Tuesday.
A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Payne earned four primetime Emmy awards as a member of “The Simpsons’” writing staff, which he joined in 1998. According to The Wrap, Payne wrote a total of 16 episodes, one of which earned him a 2005 Writers Guild award.
In addition to acting as a producer on “The Simpsons,” Payne continued to write for the series. His last two episodes, entitled “Labor Pains” and “White Christmas Blues,” are scheduled to air this fall, the LA Times reports.
"Don was a wonderful writer and an even more wonderful man," read "Simpsons" show runner Al Jean’s statement. "He was beloved in the 'Simpsons' community and his untimely passing is terrible news to us all. I know he is up with Thor now looking down at us and smiling."
Payne’s writing credits aren’t limited to the small screen. In 2006, he started to dabble in screenwriting, penning the script for Uma Thurman’s “My Super Ex-Girlfriend.” Soon after, he wrote the 2007 superhero epic “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”
More recently, the acclaimed writer scribbled a draft of the 2011 smash hit “Thor” for Marvel. He also worked on the script for the film’s sequel, “Thor: The Dark World.”
“Maximum Ride,” Payne’s final writing gig, is an adaptation of James Patterson’s best-selling novel about genetically engineered children. The film has yet to receive a release date.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Payne is survived by his wife, Julie, as well as his three children; sons Nathaniel and Joshua, and daughter Lila.