'SpongeBob' creator and native Lawtonian says he has Lou Gehrig' - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

'SpongeBob' creator and native Lawtonian says he has Lou Gehrig's disease

Stephen Hillenburg (Source Cartoonbrew.com) Stephen Hillenburg (Source Cartoonbrew.com)

By The Associated Press

The creator of Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants" says he has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Stephen Hillenburg tells Variety that he will continue to work on the show and his other passions for as long as he's able.

Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS, is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells that control the muscles. There is no known cure.

The 55-year-old Hillenburg is a former marine biology teacher who created the series featuring an animated sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea in 1999.

Nickelodeon says in a statement to Variety that Hillenburg "is a brilliant creator who brings joy to millions of fans" and that the network's "thoughts and support" are with Hillenburg and his family.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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