Joe Ruby, Co-Creator of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Dies at 87

Legendary animation writer Joe Ruby, who co-created Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, has died at age 87.

Ruby died of natural causes on Wednesday in Westlake Village, California, Variety and Deadline reported.

A rep for Ruby did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Born in Los Angeles, Ruby co-created the beloved cartoon alongside Ken Spears. The series followed teenage friends — brainiac Velma, jock Fred, fashionista Daphne, hippie Shaggy and his talking Great Dane Scooby-Doo — as they solved strange mysteries. The duo also created Jabberjaw.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! first premiered in 1969 on CBS and aired until 1976. It saw several reboots, film adaptations and spinoffs.

Ruby also wrote the sci-fi thriller series Planet of the Apes in 1974 and the horror film Rumpelstiltskin in 1995.

He and Spears later founded Ruby-Spears Productions under which they created Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mister T, Superman and Thundarr the Barbarian.

Ruby also executive-produced Punky Brewster, the 1983 TV film Beauty and the Beast, and the series Rambo.

As for how he got into writing, Ruby told "There was no great awakening or such. I did some magazine cartooning years before, but never pursued it much. It was just a 'freak' opportunity that came up at Hanna-Barbera in 1959. They desperately needed people to write the short openings, closings and 30 second 'bridges' for the Huck Hound and Yogi Bear Shows, and both Ken and I started writing them on the side while we worked our regular jobs in the editorial department."

Of Scooby-Doo's success, Spears said in the interview that he and Ruby "were worried it wouldn't last but one season, much less 38 years."

Outside of his work in animation and TV, Ruby — who began his career under Walt Disney Productions — served in the U.S. Army, Deadline reported.

He is survived by his wife, Carole, and their four children.

Following news of his death, several fans paid tribute to the late star on Twitter.

"RIP Joe Ruby, co-creator of Scooby-Do0, Jabberjaw, Captain Caveman & several others. Watching old VHS tapes of those guys and tracking down clips and episodes on YouTube was a huge part of my childhood," one fan wrote.

"Salute to one-half of the OTHER greatest pairing in Saturday morning history. The team of Joe Ruby and Ken Spears worked on so many shows at Hanna-Barbera before breaking out and launching their own studio," another said.

"RIP Joe Ruby, co-creator of Scooby-Doo and co-founder of Ruby-Spears. He may be gone now but he co-created something special that will live beyond him. Ruby certainly had a lasting impact on me and no doubt countless others with his group of meddling kids & their talking dog," a different fan tweeted.

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