Stephen Hillenburg, who created SpongeBob SquarePants, has died at 57. Inhabited by a good-natured pineapple-dwelling yellow sponge and a motley crew of sea creatures, the Nickelodeon TV program gained huge popularity with both children and adults over its nearly 20-year run.
Nickelodeon said Tuesday that Hillenburg died of ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
“Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “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.”
The underwater world of Bikini Bottom, where the action takes place, reflects Hillenburg’s deep interest in marine life. SpongeBob is surrounded by a starfish, an octopus, a crab and a pufferfish, to name a few.
News Source: National Public Radio Inc