Stephen Hillenburg passed away on Monday, November 26 after battling ALS. Hillenburg, who was most well known for his ideation of the hit Nickelodeon show SpongeBob SquarePants, was just 57 years old.
“We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants,” Nickelodeon said in a statement on their Twitter account. “Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work.”
💛 We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work. 💛
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) November 27, 2018
“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,” Nickelodeon said in a statement.
Before his rise to fame from SpongeBob SquarePants, Hillenburg worked as a writer for shows like Rugrats and Rocko’s Modern Life in the early ’90s. SpongeBob first premiered on Nickelodeon in May of 1999, later adapting to the big screen for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and its sequel, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out of Water. It was also turned into a Tony Award-winning musical, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.
Hillenburg reportedly leaves behind a wife, Karen, and a son, Clay.