Veteran animator and storyboard director Tuck Tucker, known for his work on popular shows such as 'SpongeBob SquarePants' and 'Hey Arnold!' died on December 22 at the age of 59.
His family announced the news on Facebook, saying, "It is with a heavy and broken heart that the Tucker family announces the death of Tuck Tucker, father, husband, son, brother, and uncle."
"We know he was loved by all of those whom he met. In lieu of visitations, if you have memories of Tuck you would like to share on his timeline, the family would greatly appreciate reading them," the statement added. The cause of death was not specified.
Tucker was born William Osborne Tucker III on August 20, 1961. He had an affinity for cartoons since a young age and eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in animation, according to Variety.
His first job was that of a breakdown artist on the 1987 film 'Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night', after which he also worked on the 1989 Disney movie 'The Little Mermaid', the television series 'Rugrats' and numerous episodes of 'The Simpsons'.
He worked as the storyboard editor for 'Hey Arnold!' from 1996 to 1999 and directed "Hey Arnold! The Movie' in 2002, along with working as the supervising director for the show from 1999 to 2004.
Tucker was most prominently known for his work on 'SpongeBob SqarePants'. He worked as a storyboard artist for 'SpongeBob SquarePants The Movie' in 2004 and as supervising director for the hit show from 2007 to 2014. He also wrote six episodes for the show.
Taking to Instagram, 'Hey Arnold!' creator Craig Bartlett extended his condolences and paid his tribute to Tucker.
"A great friend, a master draftsman, a tireless practical joker, a brilliant storyteller, the first one I reached out to when I began ‘Hey Arnold!’ because he was the best board guy I had ever met," he wrote.
"I’ll always remember him at his drawing board, arms blackened to the elbows with graphite, eraser shavings everywhere, bringing my characters to life. A killer work ethic, passionately into it. I’m so lucky I got to work with him for so many years. He gave and gave. I miss him already, my heart is broken. Rest in power, Tuck Tucker."