Stephen Hillenburg used his loves of drawing and marine biology to develop the underwater world of Bikini Bottom. On Tuesday, the man who created SpongeBob SquarePants died at the age of 57. The devastating news was confirmed by the network that has broadcast the hugely popular cartoon series since 1999, Nickelodeon.
According to the company, Hillenburg's cause of death was motor neurone disease (also known as ALS), a condition he revealed he had been diagnosed with in March last year.
Hillenburg graduated from Humboldt State University in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, emphasizing on marine resources. It allowed him to become a marine biology teacher at the Orange County Marine Institute (now the Ocean Institute) in Dana Point, California. Combine this experience with the Master of Fine Arts he earned in 1992 and you'll understand why Hillenburg was so good at creating stories as teaching tools.
SpongeBob Squarepants has aired nearly 250 episodes to date. And the way the fans of the show are mourning Hillenburg's passing is clear that he and his work won't be forgotten.