Burke grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Plymouth South High School (class of 1989). He then attended CalArts, and left school when he found a job working for Don Bluth.
Burke was a 26-year veteran of the animation industry, and worked on hand-drawn animation animated features for Don Bluth (Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park), Richard Rich (The Swan Princess), Warner Bros. (Space Jam, The Iron Giant), and Dreamworks (The Road to El Dorado, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron).
In 2003, he moved north to Emeryville to to work at Pixar on The Incredibles, and had worked there ever since. His animation credits at the studio included Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters University, and most recently, Incredibles 2.
“He was diagnosed with lung cancer 10 months ago and still found a way to brighten other peoples lives through his tough and short battle,” Burke’s brother Aaron told Cartoon Brew.
Burke is survived by his parents, brother Aaron and sister Heather, a wife and two sons.
Other artists who knew Burke are expressing their condolences on Twitter:
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details from Burke’s family.