Stephen Hillenburg Passes Away at Age 57 Spongebob creator dies following ALS battle
December 12, 2018  //  By:   //  A&E  //  Comments are off

Director, producer, and writer of beloved cartoon Spongebob Squarepants, Steven Hillenburg, passed away on November 26th due to complications with ALS. Hillenburg had been diagnosed with the disease in March of 2017. In a statement released after his passing, Nickelodeon wrote, “We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS… 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.”

Being raised in southern California, Hillenburg’s love for the ocean can be traced back to his earliest childhood memories. He took a special interest in marine life and developed a love for art, which would eventually coincide for Spongebob. While working at the Orange County Marine Institute as a marine educator, Hillenburg began working on animated shorts, including one that involved crabs, starfish, and octopi, which ultimately led to Spongebob.

After Hillenburg completed the first sketches and pilot episode, Spongebob Squarepants first aired on Nickelodeon on May 1st, 1999. Since it’s inception, the show has aired nearly 250 episodes over 15+ years of runtime. The show is notorious for appealing not only to children but to teens and adults alike, with viewing parties becoming engrained in the show’s tradition.
Many of our own BHS students grew up on the show, including senior Jack Usellis. On Hillenburg’s death and Spongebob’s affect on his childhood, Jack said, “It’s the biggest lost to modern day pop culture since Billy Mays. He created one of the most iconic and influential television shows of our generation. Nickelodeon, along with our childhoods, will never be the same again.”

Stephen Hillenburg Emmy
‘Spongebob’ Creator Stephen Hillenburg Honored With Emmy Award

Over the course of Spongebob’s time on television, it won an Emmy Award in both the US and Canada and has been dubbed in over 60 languages.

Since Hillenburg’s passing there has been an incredible outpouring of support for his friends and family. An internet petition has received over 500,000 signatures to get “Sweet Victory”, a song featured in the iconic episode Band Geeks, to be played at next year’s Super Bowl.

About the Author :

Liam Hatakenaka is a senior at Bainbridge High School. He is the captain of the Spartan baseball team and has previously been involved in the basketball program and mental health awareness club. His two favorite things to write about are sports and A&E. He prides himself on his pace tekkers.