By James Hibberd
September 28, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Skip Bolen/WireImage

Gary Glasberg, the showrunner behind one of the world’s most-watched TV shows, has died.

Glasberg was the showrunner of both the 14th season of NCIS and the third season of spin-off NCIS: New Orleans. The 50-year-old died in his sleep on Wednesday, according to CBS.

He joined the flagship drama procedural in 2009 as a co-executive producer and writer, then was promoted to showrunner in 2011. Two years ago he created New Orleans spin-off. Glasberg’s career began nearly 20 years ago, writing comic books and animation for companies such as Warner Bros., Disney, Nickelodeon, Fox, and Hanna-Barbera. His other TV writing credits include Shark, The Mentalist, Crossing Jordan and Bones.

“Gary was our rock, our cheerleader, our team captain. He inspired us with his leadership, his creative instincts and keen insight. NCIS will not be the same without him, and each of us will miss his smiling face and unwavering humor, which lifted us every day,” the cast and crew of NCIS said in a statement.

CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller added: “Today is an overwhelmingly sad day for NCIS, CBS and anyone who was blessed to spend time with Gary Glasberg. We have lost a cherished friend, gifted creative voice, respected leader and, most memorably, someone whose warmth and kindness was felt by all around him. Our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife, Mimi, his two sons and all his family and friends.”

CBS Television Studios president David Stapf said: “We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend and colleague Gary Glasberg. He epitomized the word mensch and brought kindness, integrity and class to everything he did. His remarkable talent as a writer and producer was only matched by his ability to connect with people. Gary was a beloved member of our family and we are so honored that he called CBS his home for so many years. Our hearts go out to his wife, Mimi, two sons, his entire family and all those who loved him.”

Glasberg was married for 20 years to producer and screenwriter, Mimi Schmir. They have two sons, Dash and Eli.