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'SpongeBob SquarePants' creator Stephen Hillenburg diagnosed with ALS

UPI News Service, 03/17/2017 

"SpongeBob SquarePants" creator Stephen Hillenburg has announced he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

"Our thoughts and support are with Steve and his family," Nickelodeon tweeted Tuesday.

"I wanted people to hear directly from me that I have been diagnosed with ALS," Hillenburg said in a statement.

"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."

Variety cited an unnamed source close to Hillenburg as saying the 55-year-old writer and animator is in the early stages of the disease.

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