Stephen Hillenburg, creator of the cartoon series Nickelodeon "SpongeBob SquarePants", died Monday. He was 57 years old.
The cause of death was an ALS, which Hillenburg revealed was diagnosed in March of last year.
"We are extremely saddened by the announcement of the death of Steve Hillenburg as a result of a battle against ALS," Nickelodeon said in a statement. "He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner for everyone at Nickelodeon, and our heart goes out to all his family. Steve gave SpongeBob SquarePants a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of children and families around the world. His completely original characters and the universe of Bikini Bottom will long remember the value of optimism, friendship and unlimited power of the imagination. "
Hillenburg earned a Bachelor's degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation from Humboldt State University in 1984 with a specialization in marine resources. He then became a professor of marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute (now Ocean Institute) in Dana Point, California. This interest, combined with his artistic talent and his love of the sea and his creatures, led him to write and illustrate stories as educational tools with characters who will later become the inhabitants of Bob's house. Sponge, Bikini Bottom.
He began his animation career in 1987, graduated with a degree in experimental animation at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia, and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1992.
The same year, he won the award for Best Animation Concept at the Ottawa International Animation Festival for his animated short film "Wormholes", which will then be showcased in various festivals and festivals. # 39; international animation. From 1993 to 1996, he worked on television as a director and writer for the Nickelodeon series "Rocko's Modern Life".
From there, he starts working full time on the production of writing and on the animated series that will eventually become "SpongeBob SquarePants". of this year. The series has broadcast nearly 250 episodes to date. This attracted not only the children, but also the older viewers, the students even organizing show parties for the show.
The series has won the American and British Emmy Awards, the Annie Awards and the ASACP Awards and has been dubbed or subtitled in more than 60 languages, including Urdu, Azerbaijani and Maori.
Hillenburg also wrote, produced and directed "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie", which was released in 2004 and has grossed more than $ 140 million worldwide. Hillenburg then wrote the story for and was the executive producer of the sequel, "The Sponge Movie: The Sponge Out of the Water," in 2015.
Hillenburg – or Steve as he was known to his family, friends and fans – was born on August 21, 1961 at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. After leaving the army, his father, Kelly N. Hillenburg, Jr., became a draftsman and designer for aerospace companies. His mother Nancy taught visually impaired students.
He will be sadly missed by his wife Karen Hillenburg, his son Clay, his mother Nancy Hillenburg (née Dufour) and his brother Brian Kelly Hillenburg, his wife Isabel and nieces Emma and Hazel.