SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg dies age 57Â
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.Â
The children's television network, Nickelodeon,Â said: '˜We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBobÂ 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 Â amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) '“Â in a statement released at the time he said he would continue to work on SpongeBob SquarePants for '˜as long as [he is] able'.Â
Who was Stephen Hillenburg?Â
He was an American cartoonist and animator '“Â his first professional job in the animation industry was as a director forÂ Rocko's Modern Life, which was Nickelodeon's first in-house produced cartoon.Â
It ran from 1993 to 1996.Â
His love of the ocean then led him to create SpongeBob SquarePants '“Â originally known as Bob the Sponge.Â
He leaves behind a wife Karen and a son Clay '“Â a drummer who he used to jam with a make '˜noisy rock music'.Â
What is SpongeBob SquarePants?Â
SpongeBob is an American cartoon, which has gone on to become one of the longest-running on Nickelodeon as well as the highest rated '“Â it has spawned video games, a Broadway musical and two movies '“Â the SpongeBob SquarePants movie in 2004 and a sequelÂ The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water released in 2015.Â
The series followed the adventures of SpongeBob SquarePants, anÂ energetic and optimisticÂ 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.Â