“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 humour 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.”
Now, Beck has followed the line of tributes by describing Hillenburg with a heartfelt message to his former collaborator: “Very sad to hear the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenberg [sic], who years and years ago used to be my neighbor and kindly did the artwork for the first music that I ever released,” Beck wrote on Facebook while attaching images of the art.
“I always remembered him as a genuinely sweet guy,” he continued. “I was lucky to get to run into him by chance at the airport a few months ago. Sending my condolences to his family and to all the friends who are missing him today and thinking about old times.”