SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg dies age 57 

SpongeBob SquarePants creator has died, it has been announced. Picture: Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.
SpongeBob SquarePants creator has died, it has been announced. Picture: Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies.
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SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg has died aged 57, Nickelodeon has said.

The beloved cartoon was created by Mr Hillenburg in 1999 and created a multimedia franchise spanning TV and movies. 

The children's television network, Nickelodeon, said: ‘We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants.

‘Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work.’

In March 2017, he said he had been diagnosed with  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – in a statement released at the time he said he would continue to work on SpongeBob SquarePants for ‘as long as [he is] able’. 

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Who was Stephen Hillenburg? 

He was an American cartoonist and animator – his first professional job in the animation industry was as a director for Rocko's Modern Life, which was Nickelodeon’s first in-house produced cartoon. 

It ran from 1993 to 1996. 

His love of the ocean then led him to create SpongeBob SquarePants – originally known as Bob the Sponge. 

He leaves behind a wife Karen and a son Clay – a drummer who he used to jam with a make ‘noisy rock music’. 

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What is SpongeBob SquarePants? 

SpongeBob is an American cartoon, which has gone on to become one of the longest-running on Nickelodeon as well as the highest rated – it has spawned video games, a Broadway musical and two movies – the SpongeBob SquarePants movie in 2004 and a sequel The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water released in 2015. 

The series followed the adventures of SpongeBob SquarePants, an energetic and optimistic sea sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea with his pet snail Gary as well as his friend Patrick the Starfish.

SpongeBob also works as a fry cook at Krusty Krab restaurant.