Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Nickelodeon's massively beloved animated series, SpongeBob SquarePants, died on Monday (November 26) at the age of 57.
Hillenburg first took viewers into the pineapple under the sea on May 1, 1999, and since then, Nickelodeon has aired 250 SpongeBob episodes around the globe and the success even spawned two movies, a Broadway musical, and multiple video game adaptations.
Before creating the largely successful franchise, Hillenburg worked on two other Nickelodeon classics, Rocko's Modern Life and Rugrats. The network mourned the loss in a statement.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” the statement began. “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.”
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