SpongeBob SquarePants has delighted children for many years, and created for them a magical world under the ocean — complete with comically silly characters that have become beloved by little ones. Now creator Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away at the end of November, has made the ocean his permanent resting place in a fitting decision.
As reported by ComicBook.com, prior to his death, Hillneburg made the request that his ashes be scattered at sea, presumably so that he could join SpongeBob and Patrick Star on their adventures in his next life. For the man who created such joy for children in the ocean, it makes perfect sense that he would choose to spend eternity at sea.
Hillenburg had chosen a spot at least 500 yards off the coast of California.
Per his death certificate, Hillenburg died as a result of heart failure. The ailment had been caused by his battle with ALS, for which he first publicly confirmed his diagnosis in March of 2017. Hillenburg was just 57 at the time of his death.
He first made a name for himself as a director working on Rocko’s Modern Life. When the show ended in 1995, Hillenburg was promoted as a creative director, and quickly introduced everyone’s favorite underwater character.
RIP Stephen Hillenburg. Thank you for a great childhood ❤️???????????????? pic.twitter.com/FfHrbS62wV
— Noah Austin O'Dell (@NoahAustinODell) November 29, 2018
Following his passing, Nickelodeon issued a statement about Hillenburg.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS. 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 humor 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.”
Over the years, SpongeBob SquarePants has become one of the network’s most popular shows in history. The children’s show has just concluded its eleventh season, with season 12 starting up in the new year. Fans, young and old, appreciate the series for its quirky sense of humor and inescapable positivity.
After Hillenburg’s death, the network aired a marathon of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes in honor of their creator’s memory.
Prior to his career in television, Hillenburg showed his love for the ocean in a very different way. He was a marine biologist, and spent his days studying all of the beauty and wonder that the vast oceans have to offer.