Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the Nickelodeon hit cartoon series Spongebob Squarepants, passed away on Monday at the age of 57 after a battle with ALS.
In March of 2017, Hillenburg revealed that he’d been diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. ALS is incurable. His announcement read, “I wanted people to hear directly from me that I have been diagnosed with ALS.” “Anyone who knows me knows that I will continue to work on ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ and my other passions for as long as I am able. “My family and I are grateful for the outpouring of love and support.”
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 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.”