Hillenburg Leaves Behind F.U.N Memories for Spongebob Fans

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Creator of the beloved cartoon “Spongebob,” Stephen Hillenburg, has passed away.

Nearly two decades ago, millions across the world fell in love with a burger-flipping sponge. Now, “SpongeBob SquarePants” fans mourn the loss of its creator, Stephen Hillenburg, the man behind the lovable kitchen sponge and his gang of aquatic companions.

Hillenburg passed away at 57 after battling for only a year. Despite the tragically young age of his passing, his creations and what they did for the world will be seen for generations to come.

First airing on May 1, 1999, Hillenburg’s “SpongeBob Squarepants” offers a unique escape into another world: a world of talking fish, scuba diving squirrels and clarinet playing octopus. The cartoon has brought years of laughter into homes across the world and inspired just the same. Hillenburg’s genius of a show is a staple in pop culture today and has made way for other creative cartoons like “Adventure Time” and “FlapJack” to find success.

The aforementioned shows, like “SpongeBob,” have become so popular because they were able to reach a wide range of audiences with their content. Children, college students and meme curators alike obsess over the show. Seemingly every episode of the show’s 12 seasons features an instantly recognizable quote, a meme you’ve seen 1,000 times on Twitter or catchy song you can’t help but sing along with. Fans fell in love with SpongeBob’s idiocies: his “I’m ready!” mentality, his naiveness and his hilariously random antics with his best friend, Patrick Star, and pessimistic neighbor, Squidward Tentacles.

The popularity of “SpongeBob” has helped it stem across to countless platforms over its run. Two movies released in 2004 and 2015 were smash hits at the box office, earning over $600 million worldwide between the two. A play about the Nickelodeon show was brought to Broadway in 2016, which has garnered similar success.

Before his time on “SpongeBob,” Hillenburg had another out-there cartoon on Nickelodeon, “Rocco’s Modern Life.” Though it was not the smash success that Hillenburg’s later work would turn out to be, “Modern Life” has evolved into an indie classic. Amongst the other heavy-hitting cartoons of the ’90’s, “Rocco’s Modern Life” is often seen as one of the strongest.

There will never be another show quite like “SpongeBob.” In every one of its 11-minute installments, Hillenburg was able to grab his audience with creative genius. Whether SpongeBob was getting his boating license with Ms. Puff or saving Bikini Bottom from Plankton’s mind control buckets, audiences were captivated. Hillenburg was able to tap into something special with his work on the cartoon, something that will be missed by his fans for years to come.