‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ creator dies at age 57

FILE PHOTO: Stephen Hillenburg, creator of the popular animated series SpongeBob SquarePants, is interviewed by Reuters in Singapore, January 28, 2005. Luis Enrique Ascui, Reuters LOS ANGELES – “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.
Hillenburg had said last year 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.”
Hillenburg was a marine biology teacher in Southern California when he started creating sea creatures as teaching tools.
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, 2 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 humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere,” the Nickelodeon statement said.
“His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”
Nickelodeon is a unit of Viacom.

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Nickelodeon Reportedly Airing ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ Marathon in Honor of Stephen Hillenburg

By creating an account, you verify that you are at least 13 years of age, and have read and agree to the Comicbook.com Terms of Service and Privacy Policy Search Nickelodeon Reportedly Airing ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ Marathon in Honor of Stephen Hillenburg By Jenna Anderson 0
Spongebob Squarepants creator Stephen Hillenburg recently passed away , and it looks like Nickelodeon might be honoring his memory in a very special way.
According to the fan account NickAndMore, Nickelodeon will be airing an over eight-hour marathon of Spongebob on this Sunday, December 2nd. The marathon is reportedly expected to begin with the very first episode of the show at 12pm EST, before covering an array of other “classics”. Here are the currently scheduled #SpongeBob episodes for the marathon: pic.twitter.com/gzOxcQ6rbg — Nickandmore! (@nickandmore) November 28, 2018
At the moment, it’s unclear if this marathon will officially be part of Nickelodeon’s schedule, as current TV listings do not match the episodes listed above. ComicBook.com has reached out to Nickelodeon for confirmation.
Hillenburg began his career as a marine biologist, before pursuing a career in animation in the late 1980s. He first served as a director and producer for many episodes Rocko’s Modern Life , eventually taking on the role of creative director. During and even before that time, he began developing the idea for SpongeBob Squarepants, which he turned into a reality in 1996. The series then premiered in 1999, and has become a worldwide cultural phenomenon in the years since. 0 comments
According to Variety , Hillenburg’s cause of death was ALS, which the creator revealed he had been diagnosed with back in March 2017.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon 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. Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”

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SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg died today at 57; death cause attributed to his battle with ALS

Last Updated Nov 27, 2018 8:54 PM EST
Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the hit Nickelodeon show “SpongeBob SquarePants,” has died, the network announced Tuesday. He was 57.
Hillenburg died following a battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In March, he announced that he had been diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS. 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 said in a statement.
“Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere,” the statement said. “His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”
Stephen Hillenburg poses with SpongeBob at a Tokyo event in 2006.
Junko Kimura/Getty Hillenburg was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1961. He graduated from Humboldt State University in 1984 with a degree in natural resource planning and became a marine biology teacher in Dana Point, California. In 1987, he pursued a career in animation and graduated with an experimental animation degree from the California Institute of Arts in Valencia in 1992.
The following year, he began working as a writer and director on Nickelodeon’s “Rocko’s Modern Life.” He went on to work for the network full-time, producing his animated series that eventually became “SpongeBob SquarePants,” which debuted on May 1, 1999.
Joe Murray, the creator of “Rocko’s Modern Life,” saw one of Hillenburg’s short films and asked him to direct episodes of the show. “That was really important for me because I really wouldn’t have known how to put a show together without that experience,” Hillenburg said in a 2005 interview with Nick Animation .
The show went on to multiple awards, including four Emmys and six Annie Awards. Hillenburg adapted his show for the big screen twice. “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” released in 2004 and “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” debuted in 2015.
“Obviously SpongeBob is comedy but it really was inspired by me liking marine science,” he told Nick Animation. “I focused on that and I never thought the two would come together.”

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