SpongeBob SquarePants & # 39; creator dying age 57


LOS ANGELES – The creator of the series "SpongeBob SquarePants", Stephen Hillenburg, has died at 57, Nickelodeon's television network on Tuesday.

Hillenburg said last year that he was suffering from the neurodegenerative ALS disease, also called Lou Gehrig's disease.

"We're very sorry with the news that Steve Hillenburg has died after a battle with ALS," said the network in a statement. "Nickelodeon was a long-term creative partner and long-term creative partner, and our hearts are going out to his family."

Hillenburg was a marine biology teacher in southern California when he started creating marine creatures as teaching tools.

First episode of "SpongeBob SquarePants," a & # 39; shows a marine sea sponge and its friends living in the Bikini Bottom underwater fiction village, broadcast on television in May 1999.

The series went on to win several awards, and # 39; Produce a series of energy books, two Hollywood films and Broadway music.

"Steve looked at SpongeBob SquarePants with an awesome and unhealthy awareness that gave birth to the generation of children and families everywhere," said Nickelodeon.

"His very original characters and the Bikini Bottom world will stand all the time in memory of hope, friendship and imaginative power without end."

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