Stephen Hillenburg died of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, at his home in Southern California on Monday. He was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease in March 2017.
Nickelodeon shared the unfortunate news via the company's Twitter account. They 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."
💛 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. 💛
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) November 27, 2018
Hillenburg, who also wrote and directed another Nickelodeon classic 'Rugrats,' saw his first episode of 'Spongebob Squarepants' air in 1999. The show proved to be a huge animation hit, mostly down to his ever-optimistic character Spongebob, and trusty sidekick Patrick the starfish. The series also spawned two movies, countless memes, and even a Tony-winning broadway musical.
Here are some of the tributes to Hillenburg that people have been sharing online.
This is still my favorite Spongebob moment, and IMO remains one of he funniest jokes ever written pic.twitter.com/m3IgAEEW4h
— Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard) November 27, 2018
I am broken...Whoa that came out of left field RIP Stephen Hillenburg :( pic.twitter.com/mClU9gfMw0
— Sky #TeamSkyward (@SkywardWing) November 27, 2018
A giant of cartoons has left us. A kind, brilliant and hilarious genius who will forever be remembered for his creations. Animation was changed for the better thanks to him. And millions of kids grew up with a character that championed innocence. Gracias for everything, Steve. https://t.co/Nn0DCnabJS
— Jorge R. Gutierrez (@mexopolis) November 27, 2018
This year has just absolutely shattered my heart. Lost two creative, imaginative individuals in both Stan Lee and Stephen Hillenburg, who both shaped so much of my own childhood, and my childhood wonder.
— Noravity (@Noravity) November 27, 2018
Spongebob Squarepants was such a treat for me when I was a Kid and it still resonates with me due to it's timeless and infinitely malluable use for comedy in all spectrum and memes
RIP Stephen Hillenburg Creator of Spongebob
Your legacy will truly live on pic.twitter.com/7WfAsSMdzc
— HMK (@HMKilla) November 27, 2018
my favorite episode is "shanghaied," the episode where spongebob and patrick are trapped on the flying dutchman's ship, and the only way they can get out is through – gulp – THE PERFUME DEPARTMENT
— i want a bethopotamus for christmas (@betheleanorr) November 27, 2018
one of my favorite spongebob moments, Patrick was so disrespectful LMAOOOO pic.twitter.com/h8z1REqsCD
— 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 ♡ (@honeypacino) November 27, 2018
Since we're sharing our favorite Spongebob moments today, here's one of mine. Rest in peace, Stephen Hillenburg. pic.twitter.com/AtLp1hYpT5
— Grant Smith (@MasterWuggles) November 27, 2018
In honor of Stephen Hillenburg, Imma share with you all my favorite moment in Spongebob. I remember watching this as a kid and falling over laughing. Heck it's still hilarious to this day pic.twitter.com/Q1NAOL3AHs
— Saberspark (@Saberspark) November 27, 2018
God I cant even think of my favorite one. One of my favorites is Spongebob's fever dream while trying to write an essay and his house is just, on fire because he didnt write his essay.
— Mindy 🌟 COMMISSIONS OPEN 🌟 (@mindysoung) November 27, 2018
Forever my favorite spongebob moment pic.twitter.com/wEb1vKd9tB
— i am not tyler (@isnttyler) November 27, 2018
One of my all time favorite scenes from Spongebob pic.twitter.com/6tSMb8b0MN
— Blake (@Blake_Wilcoxen) November 27, 2018
One of my favorite weird conceptual SpongeBob gags was the scenes where the characters drink glasses of water while underwater. Brilliant.
— Evan Minto (@VamptVo) November 27, 2018
Some of my favorite childhood memories were SpongeBob:
- performing at the Bubble Bowl.
- selling chocolate.
- delivering pizza with a less-than-enthusiastic Squidward.
- meeting THE hash-slinging slasher.
Thank you, Stephen Hillenburg.
Bikini Bottom meant the world to me. pic.twitter.com/MCaQWXiwYx
— Brian Gay (@brian2596) November 27, 2018
And finally, David Hasslehoff, the star of 2004's 'Spongebob The Movie' paid tribute to Hillenburg.
Wow what a unique and fantastic character Steve created! It was my pleasure and honor to be in SpongeBob The Movie and to share some great laughs with this gentleman, Shocking Loss! To this day I am stopped and flattered by people and kids who have seen me in the film.#SpongeBob pic.twitter.com/gNF1CkJk69
— David Hasselhoff (@DavidHasselhoff) November 27, 2018