Stephen Hillenburg, creator of the long-running hit Nickelodeon series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” has revealed that he has been diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease ALS.The 55-year-old animator shared a statement with Variety announcing the diagnosis and his intent to continue working on the series, which has been on the air since 1999.“I wanted people to hear directly from me that I have been diagnosed with ALS.,” the statement reads. “Anyone who knows me knows that I will continue to work on ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ and my other passions for as long as I am able. My family and I are grateful for the outpouring of love and support. We ask that our sincere request for privacy be honored during this time.”A source close to Hillenburg said he received the diagnosis recently and is in the early stages of the disease. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a rare terminal illness that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.Hillenburg is a former marine biology teacher who channeled his love of the ocean into animation. “SpongeBob” began as a Saturday morning cartoon in 1999, before transitioning to primetime, where it became a multibillion-dollar franchise popular among kids and adult viewers as well.
Hillenburg also directed 2004’s “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.” He left the series for a decade before returning in 2014 as an executive producer. Last March, Nickelodeon renewed “SpongeBob” for a 10th and 11th season, which will keep the series on the air for well over 200 episodes.
Vincent Waller confirmed: https://twitter.com/...457959238426624
UPDATE #1: If you guys have Twitter, a lot of people had been very supportive to him that someone named @MisterSomeone13 created the hashtag #GetWellHillenburg. I had tweeted twice with the hashtag and had like and retweet almost every single tweet with it. Let's keep posting the hashtag and we should get it and Stephen Hillenburg's name trending. https://twitter.com/...efault&src=hash
UPDATE #2: Vincent Waller tweeted this as well: https://twitter.com/...206965992321024
Sad news for SpongeBob fans...let's hope he survives when the show ends. If not, what will happen to the show? (Will they just end it there?)