Spongebob Creator Stephen Hillenburg Dead at 57


Naiima Paul

One of the most memorable creators of the past decade, Stephen Hillenburg, has died of ALS. Best known for being the creator, director, and animator behind the “Spongebob Squarepants” cartoon, he has been a major influence over the childhood of an entire generation. Hillenburg was a former marine biology teacher, and used his knowledge to develop one of the most unique cartoons in modern history. The series, which followed a personified sea sponge and his band of underwater buddies, spanned almost two decades and produced countless memorable moments.
Hillenburg’s death has sparked a wave of kind words and condolences. Fans took to social media to share their favorite moments on the show. Artists shared their rendition of the characters in celebration of the show’s unique art style. People reminisced about their memories of the show and expressed their realization at just how influential it was on their sense of humor and creativity. The show has been such an indelible creation that 700,000 people have signed a petition for the NFL to play “Sweet Victory” at the Super Bowl. This is a reference to an episode of Spongebob Squarepants in which the titular character performs the song at a football game – a touching tribute to the creator.
Hillenburg succumbed to ALS on November 26. Upon his passing, Nickelodeon issued a statement saying that he “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.” Hillenburg’s work will live on through the antics of Spongebob, a character who represents a lifetime of work and childhood joy, as well as the inspiration his work has brought to other young animators and creators. Hillenburg’s ashes were reportedly scattered at sea, a fitting memorial to the man and his work.