It’s a sad day in the world of cartoons, as Nickelodeon has confirmed the passing of SpongeBob SquarePants creator Steven Hillenburg.
The iconic TV show writer and producer with a long career and a hand in creating a lot of our favorite moments in animation.
Hillenburg actually didn’t go to school for television writing, instead studying “Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation with an emphasis on marine resources” according to Variety. Obviously, this would come into play later in his career.
He started working in television after going back to school to study Experimental Animation, and eventually became a writer and director for popular 90s comedy Rocko’s Modern Life.
When that show came to an end, he developed his own show, taking his old passion of marine life and mixing it with his newfound love of animation, and created a cartoon that appealed to kids and adults alike.
The silly show was something that felt unlike the rest of the shows on TV, and no matter how silly or lighthearted it was, it still felt like it was made with a lot of passion and love.
The award-winning show has been on the air for nearly 20 years now, but now they will have to carry on without their creator.
Hillenburg was diagnosed with ALS in March 2017, and according to the Network is what led to his death at the age of 57.
Nickelodeon tweeted “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.”
Many people are tweeting their replies with heartfelt messages, tearful discussions, and even one tribute song based on the SpongeBob theme song.
Ohhhhh~ who lives in a pineapple up in the sky? “Stephen. Hillenburg!”
He brightened our days! Cured the urge to cry. “Stephen. Hillenburg!”
You were such a legend, and you shall be missed. “Stephen. Hillenburg!”
May peace be upon you, forever blessed!
— Snowphia暗号 (@_Cipher_Phia_) November 27, 2018
Anyone who grew up watching SpongeBob knows how special this man’s creation was. Take a moment to appreciate all he gave us.