In March of last year Stephen Hillenburg announced that he had been diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease ALS. He was 55 years old at the time, and said that he intended to continue working on the SpongeBob Squarepants series for as long as he was able to.
Today (Tuesday 11/27), Nickelodeon confirmed via Twitter that Stephen Hillenburg had passed away. “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.”
SpongeBob SquarePants has been on the air since 1999. The series is about SpongeBob (a sea sponge) and his friends, who like him, are all various anthropomorphic sea creatures. The series airs in over 200 countries and has been translated into over 50 languages. The show has received many awards over the years, including four Emmy Awards. Stephen received a special Emmy back in April for his animation work.
See the tweet from Nickelodeon below as well as other tweets from various outlets. Twitter is all about SpongeBob today. RIP to Mr. Stephen Hillenburg.