Nickelodeon's "creator," SpongeBob SquarePants, "Stephen Hillenburg," died dead, announced the network on Tuesday. He was 57.
Hillenburg died after a battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. In March, he announced he had been diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease.
"We are very disturbed by the news that Steve Hillenburg has died following a battle with ALS. He was a dear friend and long-term creative partner for everyone in Nickelodeon, and our hearts went out to & # 39; w whole family, "said the network in a statement.
"Steve was provoking SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of children and families everywhere," he said. "His totally original characters and the Bikini Bottom world will continue to be a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and seamless power."
Hillenburg was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1961. He graduated from the Humboldt State University in 1984 with a degree in natural resource planning and became a marine biology teacher at Dana Point, California. In 1987 he followed 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 to work as an author and director of Nickelodeon's "Rocko's Modern Life". He went on to work for the network full time, producing his animated series that became "SpongeBob SquarePants," which ended on May 1, 1999.
Joe Murray, the creator "Rocko's Modern Life," was one of the short films of Hillenburg and asked him to direct episodes and show. "That was really important to me as I did not know how to put a show together without that experience," said Hillenburg at an interview in 2005 with Nick Animation.
The show went on to several prizes, including four Emmys and six Annie Prizes. Hillenburg adapted his show for the big screen twice. "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" released in 2004 and debuted "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" in 2015.
"Clearly, SpongeBob is comedy but I've been inspired because I like marine science," he told Nick animation. "I focused on that and I never thought that both would come together."
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