First the comic book legend Stan Lee passed away, and now the kid in all of us has to cope with the death of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants.
Hillenburg passed after his year-long battle with ALS—yes the same ALS that had everyone doing the ice bucket challenge. It’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease that currently has no cure and has caused all Spongebob lovers everywhere to be devastated.
Before Hillenburg created Spongebob he was far from an animator. He attended college at Humboldt State University in 1984 for Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, with an emphasis on marine resources, according to Variety. His animating career didn’t begin until 1987; he went back to college at the California Institute of Arts in Valencia and obtained his Master of Fine Arts in 1992.
Spongebob isn’t where he began, though and he wasn’t a stranger to Nickelodeon because he had worked on Rocko’s Modern Life between 1993 and 1996. Spongebob was created not long after Hillenburg’s time with Rocko. Spongebob Squarepants premiere aired on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999. Hillenburg is said to have gotten his inspiration for creating the show based on his love of marine biology and animation. The show went on to be a huge success, being nominated and winning a seemingly uncountable amount of awards and going on to air for 12 seasons so far.
Although Hillenburg left the series after completing The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in 2004, we hope the show is able to go on to keep Stephen Hillenburg’s legacy alive. May the creator of one of the most loved cartoons rest in peace.
By Cierra Lemott, Junior, Brooks College Prep
Instagram & Snapchat: @cece.kodak