It came as a huge shock to the fans of the Nickelodeon hit show “Spongebob Squarepants” to hear that the creator passed away, especially seeing as most people did not know he was sick.
Stephen Hillenburg, known best for being the creator of Spongebob Squarepants, passed away on Monday. As he was a very private person many people did not know that he was sick, so his death was very unexpected. Hillenburg had been battling ALS for just over a year and a half. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and is an illness which destroys the neurons that control voluntary muscles, eventually destroying the neurons which control breathing.
Stephen always had a creative side, but he chose to pursue studies in marine biology. He never imagined that he would one day have a career which combined the two. He taught marine biology for a few years before taking a job on the animated show “Rocko’s Modern Life.” This launched his career at Nickelodeon. He then used his marine biology background to create “Spongebob Squarepants” which aired its first episode in 1999.
“Spongebob Squarepants” did not stop at being a television show, but the empire expanded into an animated film in 2004 and a live-action movie in 2015. The show and subsequent films have been dubbed and subtitled in more than 60 different languages worldwide. There is also a wealth of merchandise that has been produced, including toys, homeware, clothing, and accessories.
Hillenburg received many awards in his lifetime for his work on “Spongebob Squarepants,” including an Emmy, Annie Award, ASACP award, and British Emmy Award. Stephen is survived by his wife, Karen, and son, Clay.
Just because Stephen Hillenburg has passed away doesn’t mean that “Spongebob Squarepants” is over. In fact, fans who have wondered what it would be like to eat at the show’s diner, the Krusty Krab, can now try their very own Krabby Patty at a real-life restaurant in Palestine. A similar copycat restaurant opened up in Costa Rica a few years ago but has closed down since then.
In 2011 the show was honored in a different way, by having a species of mushroom named after it. The "spongiforma squarepantsii" is found in Malaysia and has a sponge-like body, hence the connection to the lead character of Hillenburg’s show. When it came to naming the fungus, scientists chose to name it after the show because it was a similar shape and texture as the character of Spongebob Squarepants.