‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ creator Stephen Hillenburg has passed away at age 57

He was diagnosed with ALS in 2017

Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants has died at age 57 after being diagnosed with ALS in 2017.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the death of neurons that control someone’s voluntary muscles. Generally, it eventually leads to paralyzation and the average life expectancy for people diagnosed with ALS is two to five years because there is not yet a cure.

Hillenburg originally taught marine biology before pursuing animation as a career. After working on Rocko’s Modern life, Hillenburg developed SpongeBob SquarePants, the beloved ocean based cartoon that revolves around the life of an energetic sea sponge. The show ended up being one of the longest running in the history of television, running in at a total of 209 episodes so far, as well as two feature films.

Over the years, Hillenburg has been awarded 17 Emmy nominations, and won in the 2010 Outstanding Special Class Animated Program and the 2014 Outstanding Sound Editing.

Rest in peace, Stephen Hillenburg.