MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The creator of Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” has died.

Stephen Hillenburg announced he was diagnosed with ALS last year.

The former marine biology teacher created the series featuring an animated sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea. It began in 1999 and spawned hundreds of episodes, movies and a Broadway show.

Hillenburg was 57 years old.

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