Yesterday, Nickolodean announced the death of Stephen Hillenburg. Best known to the world as the creator of the television show SpongeBob SquarePants, Hillenburg also served as the director and creative force behind Rocko's Modern Life.
💛 We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work. 💛— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) November 27, 2018
In 2017 Hillenburg revealed to Variety magazine that he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, now commonly known as ALS—a terminal disease that attacks the nervous system.
Since the announcement, the internet has been full of fans, colleagues, and friends of Stephen's paying tribute to him with moving messages, memes, and sharing their favorite memories.
David Hasselhoff, who starred as himself in 2004's The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, said this about the show's creator:
Wow what a unique and fantastic character Steve created! It was my pleasure and honor to be in SpongeBob The Movie and to share some great laughs with this gentleman, Shocking Loss! To this day I am stopped and flattered by people and kids who have seen me in the film.#SpongeBob pic.twitter.com/gNF1CkJk69— David Hasselhoff (@DavidHasselhoff) November 27, 2018
Debuting in 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants and its memorable characters were an indelible part of many millennials' childhoods. Since then, the show has reached even more fans as a staple inspiration of meme culture that can be seen daily on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit.
Many fans have taken to the internet to praise the writing on the show. Although often labeled a "children's show," the show's appeal transcended merely appealing to children. Indeed, the show's humor often dealt with adult-oriented material.
The show's most iconic line ...
Rest In Peace #StephenHillenburg. Thank you for creating #SpongeBobSquarePants, truly one of the most beloved cartoons of all time. A show I’ve loved since I was 7, and still love now. A show loved by children and adults alike. A show that has truly changed the world. pic.twitter.com/9S38ZzZPRQ— Matthew Bouman (@MatthewBouman1) November 27, 2018