It’s no question that SpongeBob SquarePants is Nickelodeon’s most beloved cartoon these days. Since his debut in 1999, the porous yellow sponge has been a childhood favorite for many, with a mass popularity that creator Stephen Hillenburg couldn’t have expected.
Now, there are hundreds of episodes of SpongeBob, as well as four movies and tons of merchandise. But for how extremely well-liked SpongeBob and the rest of the gang in Bikini Bottom are, not a lot is known about its origins or its quiet creator, who sadly passed away from ALS in 2018.
Stephen Hillenburg Passed Away At 57
In 2017, Variety published a grave announcement on behalf of Stephen Hillenburg, which read: “I wanted people to hear directly from me that I have been diagnosed with ALS. Anyone who knows me knows that I will continue to work on SpongeBob SquarePants and my other passions for as long as I am able.”
Sadly, a dark cloud passed over the animation world at the end of November 2018 when it was announced that Hillenburg had passed away in his home at the too-young age of 57. The following day, his ashes were appropriately scattered in the Pacific Ocean.