Creator of ‘Spongebob SquarePants’ dies at 57

LOS ANGELES — The mastermind behind the international animated hit ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ died at age 57, it was announced Tuesday.

Stephen Hillenburg’s cause of death was determined as ALS. Hillenburg announced his diagnoses last March.

He told Variety at the time that he intended to work on his show “for as long as I am able.”

“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,” Nickelodean said in a statement posted to Twitter.

The popular and unconventional animated series ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999.

The series, about a anthropomorphic sea sponge named SpongeBob and his various underwater-dwelling friends, airs in more than 200 countries and been translated into more 50 languages. It has earned numerous awards during its run, including four Emmy Awards

The series was also  recently adapted into a Broadway musical and earned numerous nominations at the Tony Awards this year.

Hillenburg earned a special Emmy Award earlier this year for his work in the animation field.