GLOBAL ONE NEWS (G1)— Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the beloved animated series “Spongebob Squarepants,” has passed away Monday, Nov. 26 at the age of 57 after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS.

Nickelodeon confirmed the news of his passing and honored him, saying, “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.”

Hillenburg graduated from Humboldt State University in 1984 and became a professor of marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute in California.

It was the combination of his love for marine biology and his creative talent that helped him give birth to the nautical world of Spongebob Squarepants.

The Nickelodeon show first aired on May 1, 1999 and has aired almost 250 episodes since then.

It’s Nickelodeon’s most successful series to date.