In a recent interview, Hillenburg shared that:
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.
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.
Nickelodeon, who renewed SpongeBob Squarepants for a 10th and 11th season, released a statement in light of this sad news:
Steve Hillenburg is a brilliant creator who brings joy to millions of fans. Our thoughts and support are with Steve and his family during this difficult time.
Out of respect for their wishes for privacy, we will have no further comment.
Aww! *sniff, sniff*
Our thoughts and well-wishes go out to Steve and his family during this difficult time.