SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg dies after battle with ALS

SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg dies after battle with ALS Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants, has died, the television network said in a statement. He was 57.

Hillenburg died after a battle with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. He revealed that he had been diagnosed with the illness in March, 2017.

In a statement issued by Nickelodeon, the children’s channel praised Hillenburg for his “unique sense of humor” which “brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere.”

The first episode of the cartoon debuted on May 1, 1999, and the series has aired nearly 250 episodes to date. The program’s zany humor appealed to both children and adults alike, with several notable SpongeBob moments even being retooled as internet memes.

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