Stephen Hillenburg the creator of ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ has died aged 57

Publish Date
Wednesday, 28 November 2018, 7:29AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

Today is a very sad day...

The 'SpongeBob Squarepants' creator passed away after a battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or motor neurone disease - as it is also known.

Nickelodeon said in a statement: "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 humour 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 - who revealed he was diagnosed with ALS in March last year - graduated from university with a bachelors degree and went onto become a marine biology teacher. He was also a keen fan of writing and illustrating stories, where the characters found themselves under the sea, which was a foundation for his hit show.

It wasn't until 1987 when he started his career in animation, working on Nickelodeon's series 'Rocko's Modern Life' between 1993 and 1996. The first episode of 'SpongeBob Squarepants' arrived onto Nickelodeon in 1999, followed by a full series beginning in the July of that year.

There have been over 200 episodes to date and it is a favourite amongst children and adults alike. Stephen also worked on 2004's 'The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie', writing, producing and directing it whilst also penning the script for 'The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water' in 2015 and acting as executive producer.

Stephen is survived by his wife Karen Hillenburg, their son Clay, his mother Nancy Hillenburg and brother Brian Kelly Hillenburg.

This article was first published on BANG Showbiz and is republished here with permission.

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