Writer and (from what I'm hearing from those who worked with him) all around nice guy Don Payne has died of as of yet undisclosed causes. "Thor: The Dark World" actress Kat Dennings was one of the first to alert fans that Payne had passed, tweeting yesterday "A wonderful, beautiful man has passed away. Don Payne, I am lucky to have known you. You are so missed."
If you don't know Payne's name, you at least know his work, especially the ten seasons he spent as a writer and producer on "The Simpsons" (he served as a consulting producer all the way up to this year) while also writing the screenplay for 2011's "Thor" and developing the story for its upcoming sequel, "The Dark World." Payne had his hand in quite a few of "The Simpsons'" anthology episodes including multiple "Treehouse of Horror" episodes (consistently a showcase for the best writing in the series, whatever the perceived dip in quality), along with "Simpsons Tall Tales" and "Simpsons Christmas Stories."
Payne was no stranger to comic-based (or comic-themed) properties, having written both "Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer" and the Uma Thurman-starring "My Super Ex-Girlfriend." He was also adapting James Patterson's genetically-engineered-kids-on-the-run novels "Maximum Ride" before his passing.
Our thoughts go to his family and friends.