Passage: The creator of "SpongeBob SquarePants"

Absorbant and yellow and pourous is he - SpongeBob SquarePants!

Nickelodeon

It happened this past week: the death, well before his time, of the creator of "SpongeBob SquarePants," Stephen Hillenburg.

Stephen Hillenburg

"SpongeBob SquarePants" creator Stephen Hillenburg in 2004.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

A former marine biology teacher with a talent for art, Hillenburg dreamed up SpongeBob for Nickelodeon in 1999.

Oddly square in shape for a "natural-born" sponge, it turns out SpongeBob was anything but a square. 

He lived in a pineapple under the sea in a place called Bikini Bottom. 

Utterly clueless and devil-may-care, SpongeBob and friends quickly became a television hit, following up their success with a pair of movies.

Morning Routine - The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2/10) Movie CLIP (2004) HD by Movieclips on YouTube

And then last year saw the debut of a Broadway musical that won a dozen Tony nominations, not to mention the praise of our own David Pogue:

Seemingly at the height of his success, Stephen Hillenburg was struck down by Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS). He was just 57 years old.

       
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Story produced by Juliana Kracov.