Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the mega-hit Nickelodeon cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants," died Monday. He was 57 years old.
The cause of death was ALS, which according to Hillenburg was diagnosed in March last year.
"We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg died after a fight with ALS," Nickelodeon said in a statement. "He was a beloved friend and longtime creative partner for everyone at Nickelodeon, and our heart belongs to his entire family. Steve gives "SpongeBob Squarepants" a unique sense of humor and innocence that will delight generations of children and families everywhere. His totally original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long remember the value of optimism, friendship and limitless imagination. "
Hillenburg graduated in 1
He began his animation career in 1987 with a degree in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, and in 1992 he earned his Master of Fine Arts.
In the same year, he won an award for Best Animated Concept at the Ottawa International Animation Festival for his animated short "Wormholes", which was screened at various international animation festivals. From 1993 to 1996 he worked as a director and author in the Nickelodeon series "Rocko's Modern Life". From there he began to occupy himself full-time with writing and producing the animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants". The first episode aired on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999, and the series started on July 17 of the same year. The series has so far broadcast almost 250 episodes. She appealed not only to children, but also to older viewers. College students even organized spectator parties for the show.
The series has won both US and UK Emmy Awards, Annie Awards and ASACP Awards and has been dubbed or dubbed in more than 60 languages, including Urdu, Azerbaijanis and Maori.
Hillenburg wrote, produced and directed "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie", which was released in 2004 and earned more than $ 140 million worldwide. Hillenburg then wrote the story for and was the executive producer of the sequel to "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" in 2015.
Hillenburg – or Steve, as he was family, friends, and fans – was born August 21, 1961 at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. His father, Kelly N. Hillenburg, Jr., became a draftsman and designer for aerospace companies after leaving the military. His mother Nancy taught visually impaired students.
He is survived by his 20-year-old wife Karen Hillenburg, son Clay, mother Nancy Hillenburg (née Dufour) and brother Brian Kelly Hillenburg, his wife Isabel and nieces Emma and Hazel. 19659002] RELATED VIDEO :