Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob Squarepants, dies at 57

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/ Source: Variety

LOS ANGELES – Stephen Hillenburg, creator of the cartoon series "SpongeBob SquarePants", of Nickelodeon, 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 in the wake of a battle against ALS," said Nickelodeon in a statement. "He was a beloved friend and a long-time creative partner for everyone at Nickelodeon, and our thoughts are with his entire family, Steve has imbued" SpongeBob SquarePants "with a sense of humor and a sense of humor. unique innocence that have made the happiness of generations its very original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long remember the value of optimism, friendship and unlimited power of imagination. "

Hillenburg earned a Bachelor's degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, with a specialization in Marine Resources, from the Humboldt State University in 1984. He then became Professor of Marine Biology at 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. the 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 will work on television as a director and writer in the Nickelodeon series "Rocko's Modern Life".

From there, he began working full time on the production of writings and the realization of the animated series that would become "SpongeBob SquarePants". The first episode aired on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999, and the series began airing on July 17 of the same year. The series has broadcast nearly 250 episodes to date. This attracted not only children, but also older viewers, students even organizing viewing nights 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 which has then grossed more than $ 140 million worldwide. Hillenburg then wrote the story for and was the executive producer of the sequel, "Bob's 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.

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