Thursday, December 06, 2018

SpongeBob SquarePants Creator Stephen Hillenburg's Ashes Scattered at Sea

The remains of Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Nickelodeon’s beloved animated series SpongeBob SquarePants, have been scattered at sea, TMZ reports.


According to a copy of his death certificate obtained by TMZ, Hillenburg’s ashes were scattered at least 500 yards off the coast of California after cremation. The document also confirmed that his official cause of death was cardiopulmonary failure due to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease), which he announced he had been diagnosed with last March.

ALS is a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It progressively kills the neurons that control muscles, eventually leading to paralysis. The fight for a cure came into the spotlight in 2014 with the ice bucket challenge, which raised more than $100 million. Scientists are still racing to find a cure.

Hillenburg died Nov. 26, aged 57.

“We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants,” Nickelodeon tweeted a day after the visionary creator’s death. “Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work.”

Hillenburg was a onetime marine biology teacher who held a degree in natural resource planning and interpretation, with an emphasis on marine resources, from Humboldt State University.

He began his career in animation in 1987. Before creating SpongeBob SquarePants, he wrote and directed for the Nickelodeon series Rocko’s Modern Life and Rugrats between 1993 to 1996.



Eventually, Hillenburg combined his love of the ocean with his artistic talent and brought SpongeBob's beloved Bikini Bottom to life.

Hillenburg conceived, wrote, produced and directed the animated series that premiered on Nickelodeon in 1999, which has since bloomed into hundreds of episodes, movies and a Tony-awarding Broadway show. When Hillenburg announced that he had ALS, he said that he would continue to work on the animated series, “for a long as I am able.”

SpongeBob SquarePants has also gone on to win many awards, including both U.S. and British Emmy and ASACP awards. The series has also been dubbed or sub-titled in more than 60 languages.

“Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere,” Nickelodeon said in a statement following his death. “His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”

Nickelodeon USA recently aired a SpongeBob SquarePants marathon in honor of Hillenburg's memory.


Hillenburg is survived by his wife of 20 years Karen Hillenburg, son Clay, mother Nancy Hillenburg (nee Dufour) and brother Brian Kelly Hillenburg, his wife Isabel, and nieces Emma and Hazel.

You can read more about Hillenburg's life and career here.

R.I.P. Stephen Hillenburg. August 21, 1961 - November 26, 2018


Both the ALS Association and the Muscular Dystrophy Association have information on how to support those diagnosed and their families, as well as ways to donate to research efforts and related causes.

Sources: People, Daily Mail Online (via Anime Superhero Forum /@SweetShop209), ComicBook.

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