Asbury died Friday morning in Los Angeles following a long battle with abdominal cancer, a representative for Asbury, Nancy Newhouse Porter, told Variety.
Asbury, who started his career at Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1983, directed five animated feature films during his career: “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” which was released in 2002; “Shrek 2″ in 2004, which he co-directed with Conrad Vernon; 2011’s “Gnomeo & Juliet”; 2017’s “Smurfs: The Lost Village”; and his final directorial effort was 2019’s “Ugly Dolls,” which starred Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton and Pitbull.
His other work includes credits on “The Little Mermaid,” Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “The Prince of Egypt,” “Chicken Run,” “Shrek,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Frozen” and “Sherlock Gnomes.”
In addition, the Texas native was also credited as a writer in the 1991 film “Beauty and the Beast” and worked as a story artist on “Toy Story” in 1995 and both “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” in 2008.
“Inside Out” writer Ronnie del Carmen, who worked with Asbury on the “Prince of Egypt,” paid tribute to the animator on Facebook, writing, “So sorry to hear this today. Everyone loved Kelly, it’s impossible to not be charmed by him or feed off of his positive energy. We worked together on ‘Prince of Egypt’ and when I joined Pixar stories of the great “Kell-god” was already legend. I will miss him dearly. Rest In Peace dear friend.”
Survivors include his wife, Jacquie Boggs; stepsons Andrew and Connor Boggs; sister Gwen Speed; and niece Leslie McKeller.