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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Creator of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ Stephen Hillenburg, dies at 57

<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-30f744b3-7fff-3be2-ed98-d5da3a6da34b"><span>Stephen Hillenburg</span></span></p>

Stephen Hillenburg

A yellow sponge in square pants helped Adamu Pastor learn English as a child in Cameroon.

When the 21-year-old UF biochemistry junior scrolled through Instagram Wednesday night, he said he was shocked to learn that Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” died Monday.

“I was hurt because I grew up watching it,” Pastor said.

Hillenburg died at the age of 57 from Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS, which is a neurological disease that damages nerve cells, according to the Associated Press. He announced his ALS diagnosis in March 2017.

In 1999, Hillenburg created, produced and directed the Nickelodeon show. What started as a children’s show grew to two movies and a broadway show, which earned 12 Tony Award nominations in 2017, according to the Associated Press.

Almost 20 years after the show’s debut, memes created from screenshots of SpongeBob scenes fill Twitter timelines and Facebook newsfeeds.

Megan Thermes, a 21-year-old UF tourism, event and recreation management senior, said she counted down the minutes with her sisters until the “Best Day Ever” episode premiered in 2006.

Years later, she said she and her sisters still remember the song today.

“I think it’s cool that now you can bring up a SpongeBob quote to anybody, and everybody kind of knows what episode you’re talking about,” she said.

Ian Fennessy, an 18-year-old UF economics freshman, said he still fears DoodleBob, the villain from his favorite episode.

Like Stan Lee, who died Nov. 12, Hillenburg influenced the childhoods of a generation, Fennessy said.

“He shaped Nickelodeon to what it is today,” Fennessy said.

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  • I took three days to make that potato salad. Three days!”

  • “Hey Patrick, I thought of something funnier than 24… 25!”

  • “My leg!”

  • “Do you smell it? That smell. That smelly smell. The smelly smell that smells... smelly.
    ... Anchovies.”

  • “I call it “Bold and Brash.”
    “More like ‘Belongs in the trash.’”

  • “I’m ugly, and I’m proud!”

  • “Is mayonnaise and instrument?”

  • “I wumbo. You wumbo. He, she, we wunbo. Wumbology. The study of wumbo. It’s first grade, Spongebob.”

  • “Firmly grasp it.”

  • “Is this the Krusty Krab?”
    “No, This is Patrick!”

  • “I remember when chocolate was first created. And I hated it!”

  • “Now you must develop a taste for… FREEFORM JAZZ.”

  • "Don't you have to be stupid somewhere else?", “Not until four.”

  • “The pioneers used to ride these bad boys for miles.”

  • “The hap-wringing...the slap-singing...the harsh-freezing… The hash-slinging slasher!”

  • “Can I be excused for the rest of my life?”

Stephen Hillenburg

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