Stephen Hillenburg used his loves of drawing and marine biology to develop the underwater world of Bikini Bottom. On Tuesday, the man who created SpongeBob SquarePants died at the age of 57. The devastating news was confirmed by the network that has broadcast the hugely popular cartoon series since 1999, Nickelodeon.
According to the company, Hillenburg's cause of death was motor neurone disease (also known as ALS), a condition he revealed he had been diagnosed with in March last year.
Hillenburg graduated from Humboldt State University in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, emphasizing on marine resources. It allowed him to become a marine biology teacher at the Orange County Marine Institute (now the Ocean Institute) in Dana Point, California. Combine this experience with the Master of Fine Arts he earned in 1992 and you'll understand why Hillenburg was so good at creating stories as teaching tools.
SpongeBob Squarepants has aired nearly 250 episodes to date. And the way the fans of the show are mourning Hillenburg's passing is clear that he and his work won't be forgotten. Since hearing the shocking news, people have been sharing the tributes they have created in honor of the animator who is survived by his wife of 20 years, Karen, and son Clay. Bored Panda has collected some of them, inviting you to pay your respects.
#1 Stephen Hillenburg Tribute
#2 Rest In Peace, Stephen Hillenburg
#3 We're Saddened To Hear That Stephen Hillenburg, Creator Of
#4 Stephen Hillenburg Was A Real Inspiration For Me. He Took A Goofy Idea And Turned It Into One Of The Greatest Cartoons In Animation History
#5 I’ve Always Wanted To Live In A Pineapple Under The Sea Rip Stephen Hillenburg
#6 Stephen Hillenburg’s Passing Caught Me By Complete Surprise I Cannot Thank Him Enough For Enlightening My Childhood With Spongebob Squarepants. Rest Easy, Sir
#7 Stephen Hillenburg Tribute
#8 Thank You Stephen Hillenburg
#9 Why Are You Leaving Us So Soon? Rip Stephen Hillenburg (1961-2018)
#10 Working On Some Tribute Art For Stephen Hillenburg
#12 Are You Ready, Kids To Say Good Bye, Stephen? I Said, Are You Ready?
#13 Au Revoir, Mr. Hillenburg
"Your love-able creations changed the world for the better. Thank you for all the laughter! Favorite moments or episodes anyone? “pizza delivery” has always been mine"
#14 Rest In Peace To Mr. Stephen Hillenburg For Creating The Show That Had The Biggest Impact On Me And My Childhood, As Well As A Lot Of My Current Sense Of Humour. You’ll Be Missed Dearly
#15 Thank You So Much Mr.hillenburg,you Made My Childhood Colourfull And Funny,i Hope Spongebob Squarepants Is Never Die, Toothanks A Lot, Rest In Peace
#16 Stephen Hillenburg Tribute
#17 Thanks For The Laughs
#18 Stephen Hillenburg Tribute
#20 Part Of My Drive To Be A Cartoonist Is Because Of Stephen Hillenburg. So, Thanks
"Spongebob is the reason I began doodling, I remember when I was in kindergarten, I was sitting next to my friend and she was drawing a picture of Spongebob, I thought it looked absolutely incredible. Me, being the bitter show off that I was, wanted to draw a picture of spongebob better than she did. So I started practicing. And here I am now"
#21 Rest In Peace Stephen Hillenburg. Your With Those Other Great Creators Of Our Childhood, Rest Well In Your Pineapple In The Sky
#22 Spongebob Squarepants Maybe Is Having Fun With Stephen Hillenburg Now... It´s Nice Think In That
#23 Thank You
#24 Stephen Hillenburg Tribute
#26 RIP To Stephen Hillenburg. One Of The Founding Fathers Of My Childhood
“You know, if I were to die right now, in some sort of fiery explosion due to the carelessness of a friend, well that would just be okay.” -Spongebob Squarepants
#27 Sad Day For Bikini Bottom
#29 Stephen Hillenburg Will Be Greatly Missed. He Was A Huge Artistic Inspiration For Me, And Many Others…
#30 Very Quick Tribute To
#31 Thank You, Stephen. Rest In Peace
#32 Rest In Peace, Stephen, You Absolute Legend
"I am absolutely heartbroken over Stephen Hillenburg’s passing. Spongebob has affected and inspired me in ways I couldn’t even begin to describe, and it’s one of my favorite cartoons of all time. "
#33 Spongebob Made Me So Bright, Made Me So Happy. You Have Brighten My Childhood And Adulthood, I Still Watch And Love Spongebob Till Now. May You Have Rest In Peace, Stephan Hillenburg
#34 So Sad To Hear That Stephen Hillenburg Passed Away Yesterday. His Legacy And Creation Will Live On Forever And Ever
#35 It’s Dedicated To The Creator Of The Greatest Influence Of Our Upbringing, And I’m Pretty Sure The Inventor Of Electricity
#36 It's A Sad Day In Bikini Bottom, But Tomorrow Will Be An Awesome Day At The Krusty Krab. Thanks For So Many Good Times
#37 Rip Stephen Hillenburg
#38 Who Lives In A Pineapple Under The Sea?
"I was sad to hear about the death of Stephen Hillenburg today. I was just talking with my kids this morning about the first time I saw sponge bob and what an impact it had on tv animation. More importantly, it made and still makes a lot of people happy. My family included"
#39 Rip Stephen Hillenburg, A Man Who Truly Shaped So Many Of Our Childhoods And Changed The World Of Cartoons Forever. Thank You So Much For Your Creativity And Thank You For The Laughs
#41 Man I Was So Shocked When I Heard That
#42 Been A Sad Couple Of Weeks Right After Stan Lee Another Legend From Our Childhood Has Passed May They Never Be Forgotten
#43 Rest Easy Hillenburg, Thanks For The Laughs
#44 Stephen Hillenburg
#45 I Am Extremely Sad About The News Of Sponge Bob Creator Stephen Hillenburg Passing Away
"Sponge Bob has existed since I was a baby and it was a huge part of my childhood, it is also a huge part of my life and even a part of myself and who I am today. The reason why I’m studding animation is this show, and I will always be infinitely thankful for the huge creativity and beautiful humor of Stephen Hillenburg"