The Simpsons co-creator dies

Emmy Award winner Sam Simon, who co-created The Simpsons and 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 Sunday at his home in Los Angeles, Variety reported.

"A great man; I owe him everything," tweeted The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean, adding that his passing was "an enormous loss".

Simon left The Simpsons in 1993 but was still credited an an executive producer, and his leaving deal meant he could spend time and money on philanthropy, Variety said.

He estimated that his severance package earned him about $US10 million ($A13 million) a year, according to his IMDB industry database entry.

He shared seven Primetime Emmy awards for The Simpsons and two for his writing on The Tracy Ullman Show, according to the industry journal.