The creator of Spongebob Squarepants has died, according to Nickelodeon.
Stephen Hillenburg, 57, was diagnosed with ALS in March of last year, according to Variety online. They report he died from ALS complications.
Hillenburg conceived, wrote, produced and directed the animated series that began in 1999 and went on to spawn hundreds of episodes, movies and a Broadway show.
Nickelodeon tweeted the following statement on Tuesday morning: “We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work.”
Variety says Hillenburg leaves behind his wife, Karen Hillenburg, and their son, Clay.