Veteran Animator Tuck Tucker of 'SpongeBob SquarePants' and 'Hey Arnold!' Fame Dies at 59

Tuck Tucker, a veteran animator who worked on "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Hey Arnold!" has died at age 59, his family announced.

Veteran animator Tuck Tucker, who worked on popular television series including "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Hey Arnold!" has died at age 59.

His passing was announced Dec. 23 on Facebook by his family.

"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."

A cause of death was not given.

William Osborne Tucker III had a long fascination with animation that began as a child watching cartoons with his father, Variety reported.  His first job was on the 1987 movie “Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night.”

He later helped create “The Little Mermaid” in 1989 and worked on the TV series “Rugrats.”  He collaborated on more than a dozen episodes of the hit show “The Simpsons” as a character layout artist, the trade publication said.

Tucker was the storyboard artist for 2004's "SpongeBob SquarePants The Movie." From 2007 to 2014, he was supervising storyboard director for 47 episodes of Nickelodeon phenomenon series about a sponge and his underwater friends in aquatic friends in the make-believe city of Bikini Bottom.

He also wrote six episodes of the animated show, Deadline reported.

Tucker was a storyboard director for "Hey Arnold!" from 1996 to 1999 and directed the 2002 feature film based on the popular Nickelodeon show, the entertainment website said.

In 2015, he began teaching animation and graphic design at Virginia's Longwood University. His most recent film work was for "Bob's Burgers," scheduled for release by 20th Century Studios in April 2021.

“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,” series creator Craig Bartlett wrote on Instagram.

“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,” Bartlett said.