‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Creator Stephen Hillenburg Dead At 57

by Geoff Boucher and Greg Evans

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Nickelodeon’s signature cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants, died on Monday. He was 57.

The animator and former marine biology instructor created a powerhouse property with the quirky SpongeBob SquarePants — the global merchandise sales alone have gone north of $13 billion for a brand that has also yielded two animated feature films — with a third due in 2020 — nine music albums, a video game and a Tony-winning Broadway musical.

Hillenburg revealed in March 2017 that he was battling the neurodegenerative disease ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. His death was announced today in a Nickelodeon statement that framed his singular sensibility, which gave the world a loopy but lovable classic of television animation.

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]