Death of Stephen Hillenburg
On November 26, 2018, SpongeBob SquarePants creator (and the show's sole executive producer at the time) Stephen Hillenburg died at age 57.
Nickelodeon said on that day that Hillenburg died of ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
"Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere," Nickelodeon said in a statement. "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."
However, Nickelodeon themselves and showrunners Vincent Waller and Marc Ceccerelli have decided to keep the show running with the same crew on board (Waller explained that Hillenburg wanted to keep the show going via his Twitter), so SpongeBob SquarePants has not come to an end yet. In addition, a spin-off, entitled Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years, is in production, despite Hillenburg not seeing any spin-offs being made. This led to accusations that Nickelodeon purposefully waited for Hillenburg's death for the spin-off to happen. Paul Tibbitt and Rob Renzetti criticized the idea on Twitter.