Stephen Hillenburg, who created SpongeBob SquarePants and also worked on Rugrats and Rocko's Modern Life, died on Monday from ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age 57. "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.”

Spongebob and pop music have had a long connection -- the soundtrack to the 2004 movie featured songs from Wilco, Motorhead, The Shins, Ween, and more, and the stage musical, which debuted on Broadway in 2017, featured songs by David Bowie & Brian Eno, The Flaming Lips, Cyndi Lauper, Jonathan Coulton, John Legend and more. Beck paid tribute to Hillenburg today, noting that they used to be neighbors and Hillenburg did the artwork for his earliest 7"s. You can read that below.

Rest in peace, Stephen.

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