LOS ANGELES (CBS13) – Stephen Hillenburg, whose cartoon “SpongeBob SquarePants” became an international hit, has died at 57.

Hillenburg revealed he was battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2017.

Nickelodeon confirmed Hillenburg’s passing and tweeted they will be observing a moment of silence in honor of him.

Hillenburg worked with Nickelodeon first on the cartoon “Rocko’s Modern Life” before creating “SpongeBob SquarePants.” The cartoon, which premiered in 1999, about a yellow sea sponge went on to be Nickelodeon’s most popular show – as well as a cultural icon.

He is survived by his wife Karen and son Clay, born in 1998.

More information to come.

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