SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg passed away this week, and fans are mourning loss the on social media.
Hillenburg died after announcing a year prior that he was suffering from MLS, though his official cause of death has yet to be released.
Fans quickly took to Twitter to share their feelings on Hillenburg's passing, with many expressing deep sorrow but also gratitude for the joy he brought into the world.
Stephen Hillenburg did a beautiful thing. With SpongeBob SquarePants he gave us something to smile about. Made the world a little brighter. Him dying at 57 is just tragic. But his nautical nonsense remains and he'll never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/2iDueDqYCK— Marshall Julius (@MarshallJulius) November 27, 2018
"SpongeBob was one of the very first cartoons I was introduced to and is one of the reasons why I'm into animation. It was very sad to hear about Stephen Hillenburg's passing and I just wanted to say, thank you for creating such a great cartoon," one fan said. "Rest in peace, Mr. Hillenburg."
"I would talk in SpongeBob quotes to make friends back when I was 9. Fast forward almost 20 years later. I still quote SpongeBob to this day," another fan commented. "RIP Stephen Hillenburg The jokes were a huge influence to me."
This really hit me hard 😓The creator of Spongebob Squarepants, Stephen Hillenburg, passed away today at age 57. Thank you for making our childhoods amazing, may you Rest In Peace ❤️ pic.twitter.com/2GikLj5N8T— Rug (@FaZeRug) November 27, 2018
Nickelodeon, the network that has been home to SpongeBob SquarePants since 1999, also commented on Hillenburg's passing by providing a statement.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS. He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family," Nickelodeon's statement read.
"Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere," the statement continued. "His utterly original characters and the world of Bikini Bottom will long stand as a reminder of the value of optimism, friendship and the limitless power of imagination.”
Spongebob really felt radical, a show with such an offbeat, absurd sense of humor that was all informed by... kindness and optimism??? A cartoon that my whole family young & old would watch together & laugh, & the characters... CARED about each other?! R.I.P Stephen Hillenburg— Patti Harrison (@Party_Harderson) November 27, 2018
At this time, it does not appear that any funeral or memorial arrangements for Hillenburg have been announced.
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Brad Barket