‘SpongeBob’ creator dead at 57

Alumnus Stephen Hillenburg makes permanent mark at HSU before passing

Alumnus Stephen Hillenburg makes permanent mark at HSU before passing

Stephen Hillenburg, Humboldt State alum and creator of Nickelodeon cartoon “SpongeBob SquarePants,” has passed away.

Nickelodeon confirmed the news in a Tweet on Tuesday.

“We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants,” the network wrote. “Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work.”

The 57-year-old Hillenburg revealed March of last year to Variety Magazine that he had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS.

Hillenburg and his wife Karen gifted $135,000 to HSU back in Sept. to grant awards for students doing research with faculty in the marine sciences. The couple used the money to create the Stephen Hillenburg Marine Science Research Award Endowment fund.

According to an HSU press release, Stephen Hillenburg furthered both his knowledge of marine biology and his talent as an artist while he attended HSU. The creation of SpongeBob SquarePants was a natural merging of Hillenburg’s passion for art and the ocean.

The animated series first aired on Nickelodeon in 1999 and features a square yellow sponge named SpongeBob SquarePants. He lives in a pineapple under the sea with his pet snail, Gary, in the city of Bikini Bottom on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

SpongeBob SquarePants has won both U.S. and British Emmy Awards and has been translated in more than 60 languages, including Urdu, Azerbaijani and Maori.

Hillenburg is survived by his wife of 20 years Karen Hillenburg, son Clay, mother Nancy Hillenburg and brother Brian Kelly Hillenburg.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit

More Stories

Women’s rugby returns to practice after long hiatus

By Jake Knoeller Cal Poly Humboldt has a women’s rugby team for the first time since 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and some conflicts with the school kept them off the field for multiple years, but they are finally practicing again.

Noise, rage, and skateboards — RampArt releases compilation LP

By Nathan Sano Through the endless cloud of hairspray, denim and the occasional crop dusting lies a paradise for local skaters, punks and music lovers alike. For the rest of us, it’s something adjacent to a welcome fever dream.  This

Beloved student Camile Nauta dies at 21

By August Linton Camile Nauta, a beloved CPH student and community member, was hit by a truck and killed while out walking their dog Wilson with friend Rune Kubbany on Jan. 17. Wilson was also killed in the accident, and

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply