Rob Gibbs, a veteran Pixar story artist, animator, and director who worked on some of the cartoon studio's biggest movie hits like Monster's, Inc. and television shows like Cars toon Tales From Radiator Springs, has died. He was 55.
A Pixar spokesman confirmed the sad news to The Hollywood Reporter. There was no immediate word on cause of death.
Gibbs was one of Pixar's most beloved talents, having climbed the ranks of the animation house while racking up a string of notable credits on several Pixar classics. Early on, he served as a story artist for 1999's Toy Story 2, 2001's Monsters, Inc., 2008's Wall-E, and 2009's Up.
He did storyboarding as well on 2003's Finding Nemo and served as an animator on 2012's Brave, 2013's Monsters University, 2014's Halloween TV special Toy Story of Terror, 2015's Inside Out, 2018's Incredibles 2, and last month's Onward.
But Gibbs was also a talented writer and director as well, who headed up a good chunk of Pixar's television output. Among those were popular Disney Channel series spun off from its 2006 blockbuster, Cars — Mater's Tall Tales, which ran from 2009 to 2012, and Tales from Radiator Springs, which aired four episodes from 2013 to 2014.
The animator also helmed an episode of Disney+'s upcoming streaming series, Monsters at Work, a show set in the Monster's, Inc. universe that's set to premiere next spring.
And Gibbs was about to make his feature-directing debut taking the reigns of German-based MovieBrats Pictures' Hump. The film, which is in pre-production and has a voice cast including Simon Pegg, Gaten Matarazzo, and Ramy Yousef, follows a wide-eyed camel, who goes on an epic adventure with a sly desert fox and a mistrusting goat across the Arabian Desert in order to find his best friend.
Gibbs also helped launch his then-infant daughter, Mary Gibbs, to cartoon stardom when she was tapped to voice the character of Boo in Monsters, Inc. She went on to voice the character in several franchise video games.
Several friends and industry colleagues paid tribute to Gibbs on Twitter.
According to THR, Gibbs was born in Escondido, California and became enamored as a kid with Looney Tunes and Popeye. After attending a Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation years later in nearby La Jolla, he studied animation at Palomar College and CalArts, and it wasn't long before he landed his first job on 1992's Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, released by 20th Century Fox.
After a five-year stint at Walt Disney Feature Animation in story and visual development, where he co-wrote the story for Pocahontas (1995), Gibbs went to Pixar in 1998.
Gibbs' other credits include Cool World (1992), The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue (1998), and Fantasia 2000 (1999).