Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg vowed to never let his ALS diagnosis stop him making the show he loved.
The cartoonist passed away at the age of 52 following a year long battle with the disease.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis causes the death of neurons that control the body’s voluntary muscles and there is no cure.
After learning of his debilitating condition, Stephen made a promise to fans he would continue making the animated series ‘for as long as I am able.’
In a statement released last year, he said: "I wanted people to hear directly from me that I have been diagnosed with ALS.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I will continue to work on ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ and my other passions for as long as I am able."
Stephen Hillenburg dead: Spongebob Squarepants creator dies aged 57 after MND battle
Stephen vowed to keep working until his body gave out
(Image: LA Times via Getty Images)
He continued: "My family and I are grateful for the outpouring of love and support. We ask that our sincere request for privacy be honored during this time.”
The former marine biology teacher channelled his love of the ocean to launch SpongeBob in 1999.
The cartoon became a runaway success and spawned The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in 2004, which Stephen directed.
Stephen pictured at the World Premiere of The SpongeBob Movie
(Image: Getty Images North America)
At the time of Stephen’s diagnosis a spokesperson for Nickelodeon said: "Stephen is a brilliant creator who brings joys to millions of fans. Our thoughts and support are with Steve and his family during this difficult time."
The channel announced the tragic news that the SpongeBob creator had passed away on Tuesday evening.
Nickelodeon announced Stephen’s death on Twitter
A statement posted to Twitter read: ""We are incredibly saddened by the news that Steve Hillenburg has passed away following a battle with ALS.
"He was a beloved friend and long-time creative partner to everyone at Nickelodeon, and our hearts go out to his entire family."
Stephen leaves behind his wife Karen Hillenburg and their 10-year-old son Clay.