NEW YORK (AP) — The man who created kid-favorite cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants has died.
According to Variety, Stephen Hillenburg died from ALS. He was 57.
Hillenburg made the announcement in March of 2017 that he had the disease, but he planned to keep working on the show for as long as he could.
The television network confirmed Hillenburg’s death on its Facebook page, Tuesday.
Hillenburg was a former marine biology teacher who created the series featuring an animated sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea in 1999.
Hillenburg went on to spawn hundreds of episodes, movies and a Broadway show.