As if the death of Stephen Hillenburg — the gifted animator and creator of beloved Nickelodeon series SpongeBob SquarePants — wasn’t sad enough, now there’s more.

Hillenburg passed away last month after a battle with ALS at the way-too-young age of 57. Today, TMZ reports that his remains were “cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea — at least 500 yards off the coast of California, to be more specific.”

I mean, there couldn’t be a more fitting farewell for Hillenburg, who was not only a cartoonist and animator, but a trained marine biologist as well. (What, you thought the dude who created SpongeBob SquarePants just thought sponges looked funny? Yeah no.) Still, it’s gonna be hard to look at Bikini Bottom for a while without getting a twinge of sadness, and thinking about this. Life is not as much fun up here as it is under the sea.

Hillenburg had worked at the Orange County Marine Institute, and as a marine biology teacher for several years. He then shifted to animation, directing episodes of Rocko’s Modern Life before creating SpongeBob and then working on both his TV series and films. TMZ says Hillenburg died of “cardiopulmonary failure due to ALS.” He was taken from us much too young, with many more spongy adventures still to tell.

More From 1049 The Edge