The singer took to Facebook to honor Hillenburg and reveal a little known fact about some of his early cover art.
In the post, Beck shares images of the artwork, which includes his 1993 single “MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack.” He goes on to explain that Hillenburg, who was his neighbor at the time, designed the artwork for some of his first releases.
You can check out the images as well as Beck’s statement below.
“Very sad to hear the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenberg [sic], who years and years ago used to be my neighbor and kindly did the artwork for the first music that I ever released.
“The photo from the record was shot behind his apartment. Better known as the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, I always remembered him as a genuinely sweet guy. I was lucky to get to run into him by chance at the airport a few months ago.
“Sending my condolences to his family and to all the friends who are missing him today and thinking about old times.”
Stephen Hillenburg’s life and legacy
ALS was Hillenburg’s cause of death. He revealed he had the neurodegenerative disease in March 2017 through a statement.
“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.”
Before launching SpongeBob, he wrote and directed episodes of another Nickelodeon series Rocko’s Modern Life from 1993 to 1996.
From there, Hillenburg began working on SpongeBob, and the first episode aired May 1, 1999. The series still produces new episodes and has released more than 250 to date.
Hillenburg also directed, wrote and produced 2004’s The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. He later wrote and executive produced the 2015 sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
A few years ago, Nickelodeon shared an interview with Hillenburg where he discussed how his interest in Marine Biology inspired the hit show. You can watch it in full below.