Recently, Nickelodeon announced the death of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’, the cartoon that marked most of our childhoods.
Hillenburg was 57 and had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Hillenburg received two degrees in animation and fine arts and an award at the Ottawa International Animation Festival for an animated short film before going on to write, produce, and direct what would become ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’.
With his words and vision, Hillenburg created the underseas universe of Bikini Bottom, where children and young adults of all ages could enjoy the merry misadventures of the overexcited SpongeBob and the laughably obtuse Patrick.
About 250 episodes of the hit show have aired since its pilot episode in May 1999.
The series, which can be described as multigenerational as it attracts viewers of all ages, has received U.S. and British Emmy Awards, ASACP Awards, and more.
Though Hillenburg has passed, his memory is championed by his family, friends, colleagues, fans, and many, many episodes of ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’.
“Steve imbued ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere,” a statement from Nickelodeon read.
“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.”