Stephen Hillenburg, the creative creator of the long-running megahit Nickelodeon cartoon series “Spongebob Squarepants” died on Monday, 26 November 2018.

Nickelodeon made the announcement on Tueday, 27 November, confirming that Hillenburg died of ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative 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 humour and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere,” read the statement.

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“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.”

In March 2017 Hillenburg announced he had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells that control the muscles. There is no known cure.

Hillenburg is survived by his wife of 20 years Karen Hillenburg, son Clay, mother Nancy Hillenburg (nee Dufour) and brother Brian Kelly Hillenburg, his wife Isabel, and nieces Emma and Hazel.

Sources: Daily Mail, Variety / Featured Image: Far Out Magazine, Emaze.

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