Yesterday brought the tragic news of Stephen Hillenburg’s death, who is best known for creating SpongeBob SquarePants, one of the most successful and beloved TV shows of all time, animated or otherwise. He died at 57 years old, about a year-and-a-half after he was diagnosed with ALS. Many have paid tribute to Hillenburg, including Beck, who has an unexpected connection with the animation icon.
Last night, Beck penned a Facebook post in honor of Hillenburg, writing that the two used to be neighbors and that Hillenburg actually created the art for Beck’s first-ever single, “MTV Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack.” Indeed, the art does bear a stylistic resemblance to the show Rocko’s Modern Life, on which Hillenburg worked for a few years before creating SpongeBob. Beck’s post reads in full:
“Very sad to hear the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenberg, 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.”
SpongeBob has long had strong connections with the music world: Guest stars on the show have included David Bowie, Gene Simmons, Pink, Biz Markie, and more. Additionally, plenty of artists have contributed music to the show and to SpongeBob movies, like Flaming Lips, Wilco, The Shins, Ween, Pantera, N.E.R.D, and others.