It’s a sad day for Spongebob Squarepants fans, dear readers. Stephen Hillenburg, the show’s creator, has passed away at the age of 57.
As reported by Variety, the cause of Hillenburg’s death was ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) – an insidious and aggressive form of muscular dystrophy. Mr. Hillenburg was diagnosed with the illness in March of 2017.
In a statement, Nickelodeon said of Mr. Hillenburg’s passing,
“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.”
Hillenburg took great pride in his famous series. He was quoted as telling Variety that he would work on his show (which has aired since 1999), “for as long as I am able”. The Emmy-winning show airs in over 200 countries around the world, and has been translated into over 50 different languages.
For more information on ALS and how you can get involved to help those afflicted with it, click here to go to the ALS Association’s website.