'Spongebob Squarepants' Creator STEPHEN HILLENBURG Passes Away At 57
Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the well-loved Nickelodeon cartoon series Spongebob Squarepants, has passed away at the age of 57 following a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS—a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
Stephen introduced the megahit animated series in 1999, and has since aired nearly 250 episodes, and spawned two movies and even a Broadway musical.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “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.”
💛 We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work. 💛— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) November 27, 2018
In addition to Spongebob Squarepants, the marine-biologist-turned-cartoonist worked on two other classic cartoons: Rugrats and Rocko's Modern Life.
SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg, has passed away at the age of 57. We thank you for Bikini Bottom and our favorite childhood friends. May you enjoy endless amounts of Krabby Patties. 💛🌊 pic.twitter.com/5KB2zLD7AM— IMDb (@IMDb) November 27, 2018
Among those who offered their condolences were graphic novelist Craig Thompson and actor David Hasselhoff. Fans and fellow animators also flocked to social media to celebrate Stephen's life and his contributions in the field of animation.
Spongebob was my childhood & most phrases I say to this day come from that show. Thank you for creating a masterpiece. RIP Stephen Hillenburg. May you rest peacefully.— Craig Thompson (@MiniLaddd) November 28, 2018
Wow what a unique and fantastic character Steve created! It was my pleasure and honor to be in SpongeBob The Movie and to share some great laughs with this gentleman, Shocking Loss! To this day I am stopped and flattered by people and kids who have seen me in the film.#SpongeBob pic.twitter.com/gNF1CkJk69— David Hasselhoff (@DavidHasselhoff) November 27, 2018
He was number 1. :( pic.twitter.com/O2ACX4w1y8— RIP Stephen Hillenburg (@emvpascual) November 28, 2018