Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Nickelodeon’s signature cartoon of the 2000s in Spongebob Squarepants passed away on Monday after battling ALS. He was 57.
Hillenburg revealed last March that he was diagnosed with the disease.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. 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.”