'SpongeBob SquarePants' Creator Stephen Hillenburg Dead At 57

By Peyton Blakemore

November 27, 2018


Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the legendary cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants," has died at the age of 57.

The Nickelodeon big wig passed away on Monday (November 26) after battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a Lou Gehrig's disease, which is a neurodegenerative disease that affects cells in the brain and spinal cord and leads to loss of muscle use.)

"We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS," Nickelodeon, Stephen's longtime employer, said in a statement, per Variety. "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."

Stephen announced that he was diagnosed with ALS in March 2017. Despite his diagnosis, he vowed to continue working on his wildly popular cartoon series, which has been on the air since 1999. 

The 57-year-old broke into the Television industry as a director and writer for the Nickelodeon show, "Rocko's Modern Life." Stephen worked on that cartoon series from 1993 to 1996. He then went on to working full-time on writing, producing, and directing what eventually became "SpongeBob SquarePants."

According to Variety, which first reported Stephen's death, the legendary cartoon creator is survived by his wife of 20 years, Karen, and their son, Clay.

Rest in Peace, Stephen. May the Krusty Krab live on forever! 

Photo: Getty Images

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