The man behind one of the successful cartoon character in the world has bid goodbyes at the age of 57.
SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg, who brought the zany cartoon marine underworld of Bikini Bottom to television, the movies and the stage, has died at the age of 57, the Nickelodeon television network said on Tuesday.
In 2017, Hillenburg had said that he was suffering from the neurodegenerative disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He died on Monday.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” the network said in a statement.
“He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family,” the network added.
He was a marine biology teacher in Southern California when he started creating sea creatures as teaching tools.
It can be remembered that the first episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, featuring the cheerful yellow sea sponge, who lived in an underwater pineapple, and his friends Mr Krabs, Larry the Lobster, Patrick, and their Krusty Krab restaurant hangout, aired on US television in May 1999.
The series went on to win multiple awards, produced a series of spin-off books, two Hollywood movies and a Broadway musical. The television series has aired in more than 200 nations and has been translated into more than 60 languages.
“Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humour and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere,” the Nickelodeon statement said.
Nickelodeon is a unit of Viacom.