Ever since I could remember, the first thing I would do when I got home every day after school was run into my living room and turn the TV on. But I wouldn't just let it sit on any random channel; on my TV it was channel 50. Nickelodeon. For nothing other than "SpongeBob SquarePants."
Both of my brothers had SpongeBob-themed birthday parties.
The iconic yellow sponge living in a pineapple in Bikini Bottom touched the hearts of millions. Alongside his starfish best friend, his stingy boss Mr. Krabs, his forever-grumpy neighbor Squidward and many more.
The creator, Stephen Hillenburg, was diagnosed with the progressive neurodegenerative disease ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
At only 57 years old, he was fairly young.
The Oklahoma native, Hillenburg, began his career teaching biology at the Orange County Marine Institute in Dana Point, California. He then got a degree in animation and landed a job on the Nickelodeon series "Rocko's Modern Life" for about four years. During that time, a co-worker noticed his animated drawings of sea creatures and spotted his talent.
At that moment, he knew that creating a show about those creatures would be the perfect combination of the two things he loved: animation and marine life.
At first, there was vast criticism. Producers were concerned that the show wouldn't catch on, that the humor wouldn't read well and that overall, no one would be interested in watching some yellow sponge walk around.
Now, two decades later, the show has branched off two movies, a Broadway show, over 250 episodes, and has been translated into 60 languages globally- I would say it was kind of a hit.
Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, honored Hillenburg with a daytime Emmy award in April earlier this year. His was recognized for the impact he had on broadcast television and Viacom as a whole.
As stated in his speech, Kenny states, "I fell in love immediately and it seems like some other people did too," when talking about Hillenburg's original pitch idea of the show.
To a regular person, the idea of "SpongeBob SquarePants" may have seemed too out there or too random and strange — yet only someone with the passion and creativity like Hillenburg could've brought it to life like he did.
In a statement released by Nickelodeon, the company said, "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."
In the end, he will always be remembered as the man that took one simple idea and created an empire that took audiences all over the world by storm.
May he rest in peace.