Nickelodeon announced today that SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg has passed away at the age of 57.
“We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants,” Nickelodeon wrote in a tweet. “Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work.”
According to Variety, Hillenburg’s cause of death was ALS, which he was diagnosed with back in March of last year.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “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.”
SpongeBob just concluded its eleventh season earlier this month, with Season 12 set for 2019.
💛 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
Spongebob’s weird humor probably did more to influence this generation’s love of absurdity more than any other show and it’s that weirdness that keeps us going through these dark times. Rest in peace, Stephen Hillenburg. pic.twitter.com/VXgYFaYbGT
— Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) November 27, 2018
Stephen Hillenburg could’ve easily created some cynical and hapless protagonist like what was popular in a lot of animation back then
instead, he created a happy, upbeat character who taught viewers of all ages the values of staying kind and positive in any situation
respect 👍 pic.twitter.com/01YabOsEuq
— (^ • ᴥ • ^) Merry Doggomas~ (@ChelleDoggo) November 27, 2018
SpongeBob: Isn’t he beautiful?
Patrick: How high’s he going to go?
SpongeBob: All the way, Patrick, up to the great beyond. Goodbye, friend.
Patrick: Happy trails!
SpongeBob: He’s on the other side now.
Patrick: Yeah. He’s in a better place.
Thank you Stephen Hillenburg pic.twitter.com/x86uMuQI9z
— Comrade Tentacles☭ (@ComradTentacles) November 27, 2018
(Photos: Avalon Red)