SpongeBob Squarepants Creator Stephen Hillenburg Dies At 57
Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the Nickelodeon cartoon series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” died on Monday at the age of 57.
The cause of death was Lou Gebrig’s disease, also known as ALS, which Hillenburg revealed he had been diagnosed with in March of last year.
Nickelodeon released a statement to confirm his death, saying:
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS. He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.“
Hillenburg was an Oklahoma native who had love for both drawing and marine biology. In 1999 he conceived, wrote, produced and directed the megahit animated series ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ which went on to spawn hundreds of episodes, movies and a Broadway show.
SpongeBob Squarepants was an immediate hit that has lost no momentum in the nearly 20 years since its creation. Its nearly 250 episodes have won four Emmys and 15 Kids Choice Awards, and led to an endless line of merchandise to rival any other pop cultural phenomenon of the 2000s.
Hillenburg is survived by his wife of 20 years Karen Hillenburg, son Clay, mother Nancy Hillenburg, and a brother, Brian Kelly Hillenburg.