Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants died at the age of 57, announced Nickelodeon. His death came after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Born on 21 August 1961, at the U.S. Army post Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla, Hillenburg was a marine biology teacher at the Orange County Marine Institute in Dana Point, Calif., and used his drawing skills to illustrate stories and teaching tools. He earned a degree in experimental animation at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia in 1992, and was a director and writer for Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life.
He created SpongeBob SquarePants in 1999. The series includes nearly 250 episodes over the span of 19 years and features the voices of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass and Clancy Brown. “We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants,” Nickelodeon said in a statement.
The brand has multiple features and television films produced, including the upcoming It’s a Wonderful Sponge.