Stephen Hillenburg has passed away at the age of 57.
The ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ creator died 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.”
It was revealed that Stephen was diagnosed with ALS in March last year.
He was a bachelors degree graduate and went onto become a marine biology teacher.
He was also keen in 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, which he had worked on Nickelodeon’s series ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ between 1993 and 1996.
The first episode of ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ arrived onto Nickelodeon in 1999.
Which 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.
He had also penned the script for ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ in 2015 as the executive producer.
Stephen is survived by his wife Karen Hillenburg, their son Clay, his mother Nancy Hillenburg and brother Brian Kelly Hillenburg.
*Sourced from Bang Showbiz