Tuck Tucker was known for his work on SpongeBob SquarePants. Photo: Reuters.

SpongeBob SquarePants animator Tuck Tucker has died at the age of 59, his family have confirmed. The US-based writer and animator, known for his work on SpongeBob SquarePants and Hey Arnold! passed away on December 22. His family revealed the tragic news on social media but a cause of death was not revealed.

"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," the statement read.

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"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. An obituary will be forthcoming, however, please help us inform all who knew him by sharing this post," a family member wrote.

Tuck - whose full name was William Osborne Tucker III - burst onto the animation scene when he landed his first job with Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night in 1987. He then went on to contribute to The Little Mermaid, Rugrats and a number of The Simpsons episodes. The animator is most well-known for his work on SpongeBob SquarePants and the subsequent movie.

Tuck Tucker has sadly passed away at the age of 59 his family have confirmed. Photo: Shutterstock.

In 2011, he was also awarded the Annie Award alongside three co-creators for Best Music in a Television Production. He also went on to direct the Hey Arnold! The Movie and worked on a number of episodes for the popular show.

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In recent years, the animator has also taught graphic and animation design at Longwood University in Farmville. Tucker's latest project was working as a storyboard revisionist for Bob’s Burgers, which is still in production. Tributes have poured in for the animator as fans reflected upon his legacy in the cartoon world.