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The creator of the iconic animation series, SpongeBob SquarePants, has died.

Stephen Hillenburg, 57, died from ALS. He had been diagnosed with the disease in March of last year. The life expectancy of a person with ALS is usually between two to five years from the time they are diagnosed.

“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,” Nickelodeon said in a statement.

SpongeBob SquarePants first aired on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999, and currently airs across the globe.

Fans of the show are saddened by the loss of the show's creator and headed to social media to share their love of the show. He is responsible for many fond, childhood memories.

Rest In Peace, Stephen.