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'SpongeBob SquarePants' Creator Stephen Hillenburg Dies at 57 From ALS


Stephen Hillenburg has died at the age of 57, according to a statement from Nickelodeon on Monday. He died from Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, a degenerative nervous system disease. Hillenburg revealed his ALS diagnosis in March 2017. He is known for the popular cartoon “SpongeBob SquarePants,” which first aired in 1999. 

Hillenburg brought solace to many who could see their experience reflected in his iconic characters, including bipolar disorder (SpongeBob), anxiety (Squidward) or depression (Squidward). Fans took to Twitter to thank Hillenburg for his work:

Nickelodeon released a statement following Hillenburg’s death:

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.

Header image viaNickelodeon’s Facebook page.