In the more than half century since premiering back in the late 1960s, Scooby-Doo grew from a relatively small cartoon series to a beloved franchise spanning multiple shows, movies, and even video games. Now, sadly, Scooby-Doo creator Joe Ruby has died. He was 87-years-old at the time of his passing.

Joe Ruby passed away due to natural causes at 87, according to Variety, in Westlake Village, California. As well as creating the series with partner Ken Spears, Ruby wrote and supervised for Scooby-Doo. Ruby and Spears wrote the first five episodes of the franchise and proceeded to supervise and edit the rest of the first season, which debuted in 1969. The original series ran from 1969-1976.

Scooby-Doo, officially titled Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in its early days, debuted as an animated mystery series that delivered comedy with the adventures of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and of course Scooby-Doo himself. The show was created in part due to reactions to more violent cartoons at the time, including Space Ghost. As anybody who has ever caught a Scooby-Doo episode can attest, the bad guys that the Mystery Gang faced may have scared Scooby and Shaggy, but they were hardly terrifying and violent!

Scooby-Doo stands as one of the most iconic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and arguably the most successful considering its many iterations. An animated mystery film called Scoob! premiered earlier in 2020, and a Scooby-Doo animated series has been on the air on one network or another almost constantly since 1969. Joe Ruby’s success with co-creating Scooby-Doo led him to create more Hanna-Barbera series, including Dynomutt and Jabberjaw.

The success of Scooby-Doo also led Joe Ruby to oversee the Saturday morning cartoon lineup at CBS, where the the first two seasons aired before moving to CBS. Ruby and partner Ken Spears moved with Scooby-Doo to ABC and eventually set up their own studio in 1977. Later in his career, Ruby served as executive producer on animated versions of more adult projects, including Rambo and Police Academy: The Animated Series.

Joe Ruby is survived by his wife, Carole, of 63 years, as well as four children and ten grandchildren. Grandson Benjamin Ruby credited his grandfather’s creativity and work ethic, revealing that the Scooby-Doo co-creator “never stopped writing and creating, even as he aged.”

Although Joe Ruby worked on many projects on top of Scooby-Doo, the success of that franchise guarantees that his legacy will live on. No fewer than 14 animated Scooby-Doo series have hit the airwaves to date, most of which ran for more than one season. Many animated movies have been produced, for television and direct-to-video release.

Two live-action Scooby-Doo movies released in theaters, along with some live-action TV and direct-to-video movies. Throw in projects like Supernatural’s Scooby-Doo episode, and the characters Joe Ruby created can be found throughout media. His legacy in television and film will last for as long as there are people who treasure the Mystery Gang, and that should be for a very long time. Our thoughts here at CinemaBlend are with Ruby’s family, friends, and loved ones in this difficult time.