Stephen Hillenburg, Creator of 'SpongeBob SquarePants,' dead at 57

LOS ANGELES (KSAZ/AP)Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Nickelodeon's iconic animated television show, "Spongebob Squarepants," is dead at 57, the network confirms.

Nickelodeon's tweeted a statement on his death, "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."

In March of 2017, Hillenburg announced to Variety that he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS. The news outlet is reporting that he died from the disease.

Hillenburg conceived, wrote, produced and directed the animated series that began in 1999 and went on to spawn hundreds of episodes, movies and a Broadway show.