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Stephen Hillenburg, the man who created 'SpongeBob SquarePants' has died

Stephen Hillenburg, the man who created 'SpongeBob SquarePants' has died

The man responsible for bringing us Bikini Bottom, and all the characters that live there, has died

Earlier this week, Stephen Hillenburg, the man who created the highly successful Nickelodeon cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants died. He was 57-years-old.

Photo courtesy of Anacleto Rapping/Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Anacleto Rapping/Getty Images

Hillenburg had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and affects the persons ability to control voluntary muscle movement. In a statement, Nickelodeon said that the company is "incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS. 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."

The first episode of SpongeBob SquarePants aired on May 1, 1999. Since its first episode, the series has aired almost 250 episodes. Aside from the award-winning animated series, Spongebob has had two films in theaters - "The Spongebob SquarePants Movie" (2004) and "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" (2015). SpongeBob was also re-imagined for the stage and ran on Broadway for a total of 327 performances before closing earlier this year.

Rock singer/songwriter Beck even shared a Facebook post tribute to Hillenburg, saying that he was one of Beck’s very first collaborators.

It's so sad to hear the news of Hillenburg's death, but we have a feeling this won’t be the end for SpongeBob and his friends in Bikini Bottom. Let us know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to subscribe to The Sitch for more SpongeBob news and other entertaining reads.

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