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A tribute to SpongeBob — and all of your favorite animated series

Stephen Hillenburg, the writer of a U.S. cartoon
Stephen Hillenburg, the writer of a U.S. cartoon "The SpongeBob SquarePants" poses with its character SpongeBob SquarePants at an event held at Tokyo International Anime Fair on March 23, 2006.
Junko Kimura/Getty Images

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Fans of SpongeBob are paying tribute to Stephen Hillenburg, a day after the announcement that the 57-year-old creator of the popular animated series had passed away.

Stephen Hillenburg, who used his dual loves of drawing and marine biology to spawn the absurd undersea world of "SpongeBob SquarePants," died earlier this week of Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS.

He had announced he had the disease in March 2017. His death comes just weeks after the passing of another cartoon hero in Marvel creator Stan Lee.

SpongeBob has touched the lives of millions of kids -- and adults, as well. In this segment, AirTalk pays tribute to Hillenberg and the beloved animated character and his friends. Plus, we’ll open up the phones to hear about your other favorite animated series.

With files from the Associated Press


Charles Solomon, film critic for KPCC, Animation Scoop and Animation Magazine

Dan Povenmire, co-creator of the Disney TV series “Phineas & Ferb”; he was a writer and storyboard artist and director for “Spongebob Squarepants” from 2001-2004; he tweets @DanPovenmire