'SpongeBob SquarePants' Is Expected To Continue After The Death Of Creator Stephen Hillenburg

Melissa Binns

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."

Another article from Newsweek reported that voice actor Tom Kenny, who originated the iconic Spongebob voice, gave a moving speech at the 45th Daytime Emmy Award in April dedicated to Hillenburg.

"Sometime in 1997ish, Stephen Hillenburg showed me some drawings he had done for a show that he was thinking about pitching to Nickelodeon about a good-hearted sponge, his dumb sea star friend, a greedy crab boss, a cranky squid neighbor, a teeny tiny enemy and a Texas squirrel that's gone subaquatic," Kenny said.

"SpongeBob SquarePants, now, is seen in 208 countries, translated into 55 languages and is the most widely distributed property in Viacom Media Network history... SpongeBob's vocal cords might be mine but SpongeBob's playful spirit of gentle energy, his humor and the joy he takes in his vibrant, colorful, music-filled world come directly -- directly -- 100 percent from my good buddy, Mr. Stephen Hillenburg."