Animation luminaries and adoring fans – who are often one and the same – have expressed their admiration for SpongeBob SquarePants creator Steve Hillenburg, who died on Monday of ALS.

Brad Bird, a driving force behind The Simpsons, Rugrats, and The Incredibles, took to Twitter to share his first experience with the madcap adventures of the rectangular invertebrate.

Butch Hartman, the genius behind The Fairly OddParents, praised his fellow animator and Nickelodeon colleague.

Invader Zim mastermind Jhonen Vasquez spoke of the influence the SpongeBob Squarepants pilot had on his work, saying “when I think of how much of himself Hillenburg gave to his creation over so many years it just amplifies the immense respect I already had for him.”

Dan Povenmire, of Phineas & Ferb fame, had this to say:

David Hasselhoff, who featured in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, also offered praise to Hillenburg and the world he created.

Elsewhere, Hillenburg has been singled out as one of the forefathers of the warped, absurd humour which has proliferated across youth culture since SpongeBob’s inception.

Take it from the guy who gave us Zendaya Is Meechee, among others:

RIP to a quiet legend, whose work has been given a new life by the very kids SpongeBob first entertained in 1999.

Image: Nickelodeon / AAP Images