Joe Ruby, the co-creator of the cartoon series Scooby-Doo, has died of natural causes in California aged 87.
Ruby, who created the much-loved characters alongside his creative partner Ken Spears, died on Wednesday.
“He never stopped writing and creating, even as he aged,” said his grandson Benjamin Ruby.
Warner Bros’ animation president, Sam Register, said Ruby “made Saturday mornings special for so many children, including myself”.
“He was one of the most prolific creators in our industry who gifted us some of animation’s most treasured characters and it was a thrill to host him at our studio,” he continued.
“Scooby-Doo has been a beloved companion on screens for more than 50 years, leaving an enduring legacy that has inspired and entertained generations.”
“Scooby-Doo” launched on CBS in 1969 after going through a number of versions. It was launched as a gentler series partly in response to complaints about violence in cartoons such as “Space Ghost.” Together with character designer Iwao Takamoto, Ruby and Spears tried a number of titles and approaches, such as making the characters part of a rock band, before settling on the now-classic combo of Freddie, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy and a Great Dane named Scooby-Doo.
Ruby and Spears wrote the first five episodes, supervising and story editing the rest of the first season. The original series ran until 1976 and spawned numerous series reboots and theatrical films.