He had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year

The creator of SpongeBob SquarePants has died at the age of 57.

Stephen Hillenburg announced he'd been diagnosed with motor neurone disease in March last year.

He passed away yesterday.

SpongeBob SquarePants aired on Nickelodeon for the first time in 1999.

The tv network has expressed it's condolences on twitter: