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SpongeBob SquarePants creator has died tragically at age 57.

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The mind behind the quirky animated character, SpongeBob SquarePants, has died tragically at age 57.

Former marine biology teacher Stephen Hillenburg created the character and the fictional underwater world of Bikini Bottom in the 90's with the SpongeBob SquarePants TV series airing in 1999. It became an unlikely hit around the world.

Hillenburg announced in March 2017 that he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Sadly losing his battle with the disease this week, with Nickelodeon confirming his passing

“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS (Motor Neuron Disease) He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ with a unique sense of humour and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. 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.”

He’s survived by his wife, Karen, and his son, Clay.

image credit - https://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenjavier/5492937331