Creator of Spongebob Squarepants Dies at Age 57

Stephen HIllenburg posing for a picture. Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.

Stephen HIllenburg posing for a picture. Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.

Samantha Brown, Editor-in-Chief

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The creator of the popular show Spongebob Squarepants [Stephen Hillenburg] has passed away at the age 57 due to Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.

Lou Gehrig’s disease (also known as ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a nervous system disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Although there is a treatment for this disease, there is no true cure for ALS. Hillenburg was diagnosed with this disease in March of last year and has been fighting it ever since.

Hillenburg was a cartoonist, animator, and marine-biology teacher. His love for the ocean and interest in drawing led him to start writing and illustrating stories revolving around the ocean. Little did he know that this interest would explode into the widespread cartoon that would be seen worldwide. He began to start his animation career in 1987 by taking a major in Experimental Animation at the California Institute of Arts. From that point on, he turned his focus to entirely working on writing and producing, and he would later direct Spongebob Squarepants.

Shortly after his death, Nickelodeon put out a statement shortly after his passing. They stated, “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.”

After much work, the first episode aired on Nickelodeon on May 1st, 1999, and has been left a place on the channel until today. So, through the around 19-20 years that Spongebob Squarepants has been aired, it has racked up around $140 globally. To conclude, Stephen Hillenburg will be greatly missed in the media and beyond. His actions have greatly impacted hundreds of thousands of people.