SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away last month at age 57, asked for his remains to be scattered at sea, allowing him to be one with the ocean that he helped imbue with wonder for children during his lifetime.
According to his death certificate, Hillenburg died due to heart failure as a result of ALS -- a disease he revealed to the public in 2017.
Hillenburg's ashes were scattered at least 500 yards off the coast of California.
“We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family. Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. 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 gained notoriety while working as a director on Rocko's Modern Life. By the time the show's final season came around, in 1995, Hillenburg was promoted to creative director.
From there, Hillenburg went on to create SpongeBob SquarePants for Nickelodeon, one of the most popular series in the history of the network. On the air for nearly a decade, SpongeBob just concluded its eleventh season earlier this month, with Season 12 set for 2019.
The network recently aired a SpongeBob SquarePants marathon in honor of Hillenburg's memory.