It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Nickelodeon’s very own Stephen Hillenburg, famously know as the creator for the networks’s hit animated TV mega series Spongebob Squarepants.
According to Variety, the cause of his death was due to ALS. Hillenburg was diagnosed with the disease since March of this year.
Nickelodeon released a statement regarding his departure:
“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.”
Stephen was born in Lawton, Oklahoma. Even though he is firstly recognized as the creator to one of the biggest cartoon characters of the 21st Century, Hillenburg was also a marine biologist since 1984. He worked at the Orange County Marine Institute in California, where he wrote The Intertidal Zone, an informative comic book about tide-pool animals, which he used to educate his students.
While Spongebob Squarepants is his most popular work in the animated field, he was also a director for Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life. After a 52 episode run, the show was canceled. Stephen and much of the staff from Rocko’s regrouped to work on Spongebob.
Hillenburg has received numerous acclaims and recognition for his work in the animated field. He’s received two Emmy Awards and six Annie Awards.
He was 57 years old.
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