SpongeBob SquarePants will not come to an end after the death of the show's creator, Stephen Hillenburg, Newsweek is reporting. Hillenburg died on Tuesday, November 27, from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, this illness results in muscle weakness and loss of motor functions. According to Variety, Hillenburg revealed his diagnosis in March 2017.
"I wanted people to hear directly from me that I have been diagnosed with ALS," he said in a statement. "Anyone who knows me knows that I will continue to work on SpongeBob SquarePants and my other passions for as long as I am able."
After Hillenburg's passing, many fans were left questioning whether the beloved cartoon would continue in his absence. After all, Hillenburg was not just the creator -- he was also a writer, executive producer, and director for many episodes of the series. The animator and cartoonist was also a marine biologist, and therefore was able to add real-life oceanic facts to the silly show. Despite Hillenburg being heavily involved with the show's production, Nickelodeon commented on an Instagram post dedicated to him that the show would go on.
"The show isn't cancelled," the network wrote. "Steve Hillenburg's creations will continue to bring joy to kids and families everywhere."