The creator of hit cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, former marine biology teacher Stephen Hillenburg recently passed away at the age of 57 yesterday.
The news of his demise was shared by Nickelodeon, the kids programming network that debuted SpongeBob to a generation of fans.
???? We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work. ????
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) November 27, 2018
Stephen Hillenburg had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disclosure that came to light last year during his interview with Variety.
“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,” he said at the time.
He died of complications from ALS at his home in Southern California.
Before he created his most famous creation, Hillenburg started his animation career in 1993, working on Rocko’s Modern Life for Nickelodeon from 1993-1996.
For Spongebob, he took most the concepts and characters from a comic book The Intertidal Zone that he had developed over the years. Little did he know that SpongeBob SquarePants, which debuted in 1999, could go on to become the fifth longest-running American animated series to date.
“Obviously, SpongeBob is a comedy, but it really was inspired by me liking marine science. I focused on that, and I never thought the two would come together.”
He has also won two Emmys and six Annie Awards for SpongeBob SquarePants.
Fans Remember the Legend
The homages to Hillenburg continue to pour in from fans from all over the world, most of whom which feature a teary-eyed SpongeBob.
— Donnie (@d_boobie) November 27, 2018
2018 is canceled pic.twitter.com/aAZdrtQtB7
— Kara (@idioticblondie) November 27, 2018
We are all Patrick today. ???? pic.twitter.com/Vv9vOkaLyk
— Eileen (TeamPelosi) Conn ???????????? (@milleronia) November 27, 2018
I’m crying in class rn pic.twitter.com/KSuTGhj2sM
— reyes. (@_TheGreatMartin) November 27, 2018
— Devon (@voneloso) November 27, 2018
Some fans also shared their own memories of the show:
when i was a kid my mom wouldn’t let me watch Spongebob … so i’d wake up an hour before her to watch my favorite show … i hope he died knowing his legacy affected millions ????
— lulabell (@lula_bell8) November 27, 2018
yo man i hate doing these rip tweets. rip stephen hillenburg though. you fueled my childhood and gave me after school cartoons that nurtured my sense of humour for years into adulthood. i still watch spongebob til this day as a grown ass man.
RIP to my guy.
— RUSSELL! ???? (@RUSSELLislovely) November 27, 2018
Made growing up so much better. We only got 30 minutes of tv a day and that was the perfect amount for two episodes of pure joy.
— ⏱ (@RITEGREENS6) November 27, 2018
Rest in peace Stephen Hillenburg, the man responsible for making millions of people around the world laugh and smile for decades. pic.twitter.com/fRmdiI9g6G
— Clay (@_ClayPot) November 27, 2018
May his soul rest in peace.