'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.
???? 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
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:
Spongebob is the most influential cartoon of my generation hands down. The show will always have a special meaning to me and I’m thankful for all the laughs it has given me over the years. RIP Stephen Hillenburg and thanks for sharing Spongebob with the world pic.twitter.com/KshNDDcmDL
— Tripp (@Tripphammr) November 27, 2018
Stephen Hillenburg brought us years of joy with SpongeBob SquarePants. Thank you for sharing so many stories under the sea. pic.twitter.com/GAmq26psBp
— Nerdist (@nerdist) November 27, 2018
We lost a brilliant animator in Stephen Hillenburg today, well before his time. His legacy will continue to live on and the impact on our culture will last for years to come. pic.twitter.com/cvAbuNNP3U
— Akeem Lawanson (@geekheavy) November 27, 2018
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.