It’s a very sad day in Bikini Bottom. Announced today by Nickelodeon, we learned that Stephen Hillenburg, creator and showrunner for SpongeBob SquarePants, has died. The highly successful creator had been combating ALS since March of last year and unfortunately lost his battle. He was 57.

The show premiered in 1999 and steadily became a massive pop culture phenomenon. Hillenburg helmed the show for 3 seasons and directed the first movie in 2004, with the latter meaning to be the finale of the series. Nickelodeon wanted to continue the show and did so without Hillenburg up until the second film. He had been working on the series until his death. Due to his creation of the series, he earned two Emmys and four Anne Awards in addition to an Animated Television Award and an accolade from Heal the Bay for his work in raising marine life awareness.

Nickelodeon shared their grief in losing the creator. “Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere,” the company said in a statement. “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.” Many of us grew up with SpongeBob SquarePants or at least knew of the series and how it has touched people’s lives and hearts, so this is hard loss. 

We want to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Stephen Hillenburg. Rest in peace sir, thank you for reminding us the power of imagination.



Erin Lynch