Tucker also worked on The Little Mermaid, Rugrats, The Simpsons, and the upcoming Bob's Burgers movie.
Spongebob Squarepants
Credit: Nickelodeon

Tuck Tucker, a veteran animator and storyboard director for shows like Hey Arnold! and SpongeBob SquarePants, died Tuesday, his family announced. He was 59.

Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett paid tribute to Tucker in an Instagram post, which also included art from the Nickelodeon series.

"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," Bartlett wrote.

"I'll always remember him at his drawing board, arms blackened to the elbows with graphite, eraser shavings everywhere, bringing my characters to life," Bartlett continued. "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."

Former SpongeBob storyboard artist Nick Lauer also honored his mentor.

"Last night I found out my mentor from college, Tuck Tucker, passed away. He was a wonderful man with a great sense of humor. I learned so much from him," Lauer wrote. "You might know him from Spongebob and Hey Arnold (he was a big reason why Helga turned out to be such a great character). I would not be where I am today without his guidance. I can't get over the fact that I won't be able to chat on the phone with him again. Don't forget to tell the important people in your life how much they mean to you. One day it may be too late. Thanks for everything, Tuck."

Early in his career, Tucker worked as a breakdown artist on Pinocchio and the Emperor of Night and The Little Mermaid, and later he was a layout artist on Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and The Simpsons. Tucker then became a storyboard director for Hey Arnold! and SpongeBob Squarepants, and was also a storyboard artist for The Spongebob SquarePants Movie in 2004 (his daughter was even one of the children's voices heard in the SpongeBob theme song).

Other shows he worked on included Family Guy, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, A.L.F., and Camp Lazlo! More recently, he directed episodes of The Fairly OddParents and was a storyboard revisionist for the upcoming Bob's Burgers movie. Tucker also taught graphic and animation design at Longwood University in Virginia, his home state. In 2011, he won an Annie Award, shared with three others, for Best Music in a Television Production for SpongeBob.

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