Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018|11:04 a.m.
LOS ANGELES– Stephen Hillenburg, who developed SpongeBob SquarePants and the absurd undersea world he populated, has passed away at age 57, Nickelodeon revealed Tuesday.
Hillenburg passed away Monday of Lou Gehrigh’s disease, likewise known as ALS, the cable network stated in a declaration. He was 57.
Hillenburg had actually announced he had the illness in March 2017.
An Oklahoma native with a love of both illustration and marine biology, Hillenburg developed, composed, produced and directed the animated series that started in 1999 and went on to generate hundreds of episodes, films and a Broadway show.
” He was a precious good friend and long-time imaginative partner to everybody at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire household,” Nickelodeon’s declaration stated. “Steve imbued ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ with an unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and households everywhere. His utterly initial characters and the world of Swimwear Bottom will long stand as a suggestion of the worth of optimism, friendship and the endless power of imagination.”
The ridiculously jolly SpongeBob, his starfish partner Patrick, and a vast cast of oceanic animals rapidly interested college kids and moms and dads as much as it did kids.
” The truth that it’s undersea and separated from our world assists the characters preserve their own culture,” Hillenburg informed The Associated Press in 2001. “The essence of the show is that SpongeBob is an innocent in a world of seasoned characters. The rest is ridiculous packaging.”
Born at his father’s army post in Lawton, Oklahoma, Hillenburg finished from Humboldt State University in California in 1984 with a degree in natural resource preparation with a focus on marine resources, and went on to teach marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute.
He moved to drawing and made a master of arts degree in animation from the California Institute of the Arts in 1992.
That very same year he developed an animated brief called “Wormholes” that won festival plaudits and helped land him a task on the Nickelodeon show “Rocko’s Modern Life,” where he worked from 1993 to 1996 prior to he started to build SpongeBob’s undersea world of Swimwear Bottom, which flaunted his understanding of marine life and determination to throw all the information out the window.
” We understand that fish don’t walk,” he told the AP, “which there is no organized community with roads, where automobiles are really boats. And if you understand much about sponges, you understand that living sponges aren’t square.”
The show was an instant hit that has lost no momentum in the almost twenty years given that its creation. Its almost 250 episodes have won 4 Emmys and 15 Kids Option Awards, and resulted in an unlimited line of product to rival any other pop cultural phenomenon of the 2000s.
In 2004, the show shifted to the cinema with “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” and a 2015 follow up, “The SpongeBob Film: Sponge Out of Water.”
A musical stage adaptation bowed on Broadway in 2017, with music from such stars as Steven Tyler, Sara Bareilles and John Legend. It earned 12 Tony Award elections, including one for best performance by a leading actor for Ethan Slater.
” I am heartbroken to become aware of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg,” Slater stated in an email Tuesday. “Through working on ‘SpongeBob,’ I learnt more about him not just as an imaginative genius, but as a really generous and kind person. He warmly accepted us on Broadway as the latest members of his terrific ‘SpongeBob’ family, and made it so clear from the get-go why he is so precious: genuine kindness.”
Hillenburg is made it through by his spouse of 20 years Karen Hillenburg, son Clay, mom Nancy Hillenburg, and a brother, Brian Kelly Hillenburg.