'SpongeBob SquarePants' Fan Launches Petition To Turn Empire State Building Yellow To Honour Stephen Hillenburg

An e-petition has been set up in an attempt to light up the Empire State Building yellow to honour SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg who passed away yesterday..

The former marine biology teacher and cartoonist died aged 57, leading to a mass outpouring of grief from fans.

Now one fan, Alison P, has taken to the online petition site Care2 to try and get Hillenburg honoured on a massive scale.

In part, the petition reads: "SpongeBob SquarePants has taught his audience not only about friendship but helped to drive awareness around the importance of ocean conservation.

"It was Stephen's genius that was able to invent a character who could connect with kids and adults to deliver such an important message in a fun and charming way."

It goes on to explain that as Nickelodeon studios are in New York, it's only right that the city honours his passing.

The petition goes on: "SpongeBob brightened up so many people's lives. It's only fitting we should brighten up the Empire State Building to honour him!"

Hillenburg's death was announced in a statement by Nickelodeon yesterday in which the network said: "We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants.

"Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honour his life and work."

The late Stephen Hillenburg created the series. Credit: PA
The late Stephen Hillenburg created the series. Credit: PA

SpongeBob SquarePants first hit our screens all the way back in 1999 and is still in production today, with Hillenburg writing, producing and directing the cult classic.

In March last year, Hillenburg released a statement through Variety, in which he said he had been diagnosed with motor neuron diseases, also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

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. My family and I are grateful for the outpouring of love and support.

"We ask that our sincere request for privacy be honoured during this time."

Before hitting on the idea of SpongeBob SquarePants, Hillenburg had worked as a marine biology teacher - where he used characters from Bikini Bottom as learning aids.

He eventually left teaching to follow his dreams as a cartoonist, and joined Nickelodeon in 1987. In 1993 he worked on Rocko's Modern Life before leaving in 1996; from here he dedicated himself full-time to creating SpongeBob SquarePants and aren't we all glad he did?

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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