Stephen McDannell "Steve" Hillenburg (August 21, 1961 – November 26, 2018) was an American marine biologist, marine scientist, animator, writer, storyboard artist, producer, actor, voice actor, and director best known for creating the series SpongeBob SquarePants. He owned the series' production company, United Plankton Pictures, and was also a writer for Rocko's Modern Life. On November 26, 2018, Hillenburg passed away from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He is survived by his wife Karen Hillenburg and his son Clay Hillenburg.
Hillenburg was the first creator of a Nickelodeon animated series (Nicktoons) to pass away.