The Simpsons animator, character layout artist and assistant director Edwin E. Aguilar died in Los Angeles on Saturday, two days after having a stroke. He was 46.
While the news of Aguilar’s passing was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, it was also noted on Sunday by The Simpsons executive producer, Matt Selman. “We @TheSimpsons family are mourning the loss of animator Edwin Aguilar,” he tweeted, “a talented artist and beloved fountain of love and inspiration to all.”
Reportedly, Aguilar’s health had been on the decline for years, given his struggle with diabetes and heart issues. Several years ago, the artist had a stroke, from which he recovered.
Born in the San Miguel region of El Salvador in 1974, Aguilar gravitated toward comic strips at an early age. At age 9, he fled his native country—which was in the midst of a civil war—alongside his brother, to avoid being recruited into a children’s army. He then settled with his family in East Los Angeles, where he worked to avoid gang life, going on to attend Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design, and studying animation at the Bridges Visual Institute in Santa Monica.
Working his way up in animation at companies including Graz Entertainment and Hanna-Barbera, he would then work with iconic filmmaker and cartoonist Chuck Jones on shorts for Warner Bros., landing at The Simpsons in 1998. Over the years, Aguilar filed many roles on the long-running Fox comedy, including storyboard revisionist, animator, animatic layout artist, storyboard artist and character designer. His most enduring roles were as character layout artist (1999-2021) and assistant director (2007-2021).
The final Simpsons episode that Aguilar assistant directed, “Burger Kings,” aired the night following his death. His other credits in the animation department include 2001 sci-fi comedy series The Oblongs, 2007’s The Simpsons Movie, directed by David Silverman, Kelly Fremon Craig’s 2016 teen dramedy The Edge of Seventeen and 2016 doc Rooted in Peace.
Aguilar is survived by his wife, Marike, along with his three children, Jonathon, Maya and Bodhi. On Friday, a GoFundMe was established to benefit his family.
— Matt Selman (@mattselman) April 12, 2021