Yup! You’ve read that last part right: How did SpongeBob die?
For fans of the beloved yellow sea sponge, have it ever occurred to you that one day you’re going to ask that dreaded question?
In the colorful and whimsical world of Bikini Bottom, one character has reigned supreme as the beloved symbol of optimism and nautical nonsense for over 20 years.
Who wants him dead, right?
We’re talking about SpongeBob SquarePants, the quirky but endearing sponge, who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
SpongeBob has been a cherished figure in the hearts of children and adults alike since the eponymous show’s pilot episode on May 1, 1999.
However, in recent years, a shocking and perplexing question has arisen within the fan community: How did SpongeBob die?
Can he? Did he? Really?
Let’s dive deep into a sea of information and embark on a journey that will take us beyond Bikini Bottom and into the realm of fanfiction.
Other likely follow-up questions can be:
- Can SpongeBob die?
- If he can, so, did he really die?
- How did SpongeBob die?
- What season did it happen? Which episode?
- Why does SpongeBob have to die? Why???
As of this writing, in the entire 12 seasons - with the last episode of the 12th season aired in April 2022 - of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePantsTV series, you can’t find an episode where SpongeBob died.
Yes, SpongeBob didn’t die. SpongeBob is alive!
He’s enjoying his time together with Patrick, Squidward, Sandy Cheeks, Mr. Krabs, and the rest of the Bikini Bottom community.
So, if that’s the case, then why all these online talks about how did SpongeBob die?
Two reasons: fanfic and fanon.
Why the need to discuss fanfic and fanon, which, by the way, could be your first time to encounter these terms.
That’s already one reason to talk about them: to be familiarized with these terms. After all, fanfic and fanon will enlighten us on how did SpongeBob die - or at least know where the idea originated.
“Fanon” is not the shortened term for “fanfiction.” These two terms have different meanings in the context of fan communities:
a. Fanfiction or Fanfic
Fanfiction refers to stories, narratives, or creative works created by fans of a particular book, movie, TV show, video game, or other forms of media.
These works often use characters, settings, or elements from the original source material and expand upon or reinterpret them.
Fans write fanfic for their own enjoyment. That said, it’s typically not officially endorsed or published by the creators of the original work.
Neither Nickelodeon nor SpongeBob SquarePantscreator Stephen Hillenburg “killed” the world’s most popular sea sponge.
It’s the fans who inform the online world about how did SpongeBob die through fanfic.
Within a fan community, fanon refers to commonly accepted or widely held:
These beliefs or ideas are not necessarily part of the established and recognized storyline or universe of the original work.
Still, they have become popular and influential within the fanbase.
For example, the original storyline of SpongeBob SquarePantsdoesn’t include writing off popular or major characters.
There’s no storyline where SpongeBob - the main character, himself - dies. It’s only the fans who presented the idea behind his death and on how did SpongeBob die.
Fanon can include things that fans collectively agree on, such as:
- character backstories
To help us understand better why the idea of how did SpongeBob die surfaced online, we need to further talk about fanon and canon.
We’ve already learned earlier that fanon refers to the collective body of fan-created content and ideas surrounding a particular work of fiction, such as a:
- TV show
- video game
- other forms of media
“Fanon” is a portmanteau of “fan” and “canon.”
Here’s a breakdown of these terms:
A “fan” refers to someone enthusiastic about a particular work of fiction or a specific fictional universe.
In the context of fiction, “canon” refers to the:
- established; and
- recognized storyline, characters, and events. . .
. . . within the fictional universe as defined by the original creators or the official creators of a franchise.
The canon represents the officialor realevents and characters within the fictional world.
“Fanon,” then, is a term used to describe the unofficialideas, interpretations, and creative works produced by fansthat expand upon or diverge from the official canon of a particular work.
These fan-created elements can include:
As previously explained, these are stories written by fans that use the characters and settings from the original work to tell new, often imaginative, and alternative stories.
2. Fan Art
Artwork created by fans, which can include illustrations, paintings, or other visual representations of characters and scenes from the source material.
3. Fan Theories
Speculative ideas and interpretations developed by fans to explain unexplored aspects of the fictional world or to fill in gaps in the official storyline.
Personal beliefs or interpretations held by individual fans about specific characters or events within the canon.
Fanon can sometimes influence the broader fan community and even impact the way people perceive and engage with the original work.
However, note that fanon is distinct from canon and is considered unofficial, as it’s created by fans rather than the original creators of the fictional universe.
Mrs. Puff, Sandy, Felix the Cat, Gary, Squidward, Courage, Plankton and Mr. Krabs crying around a dead SpongeBob
On its homepage, SpongeBob Lost Episodes Official Wiki informs visitors that this site contains “every single lost episode that was ever created on the internet.”
Lost episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants? What are you talking about? All official episodes can be traced (even watched) online.
Read these words again: “lost episode ever created on the internet.” That phrase holds the clue that this site offers fanonmade for SpongeBob SquarePants.
So, in the name of fanfic, we’ll refer to this site to know how did SpongeBob die.
In an undated post titled Deathby SpongeBob Lost Episodes Official Wiki, one can learn that SpongeBob died from cancer.
It’s not stated what cancer he succumbed to, but the post mentioned it happened on the last episode of Season 7.
The post even included a screenshot - “the only known screenshot,” according to the site - of a seemingly lifeless SpongeBob lying on a bed with a nasal cannula (a flexible plastic/rubber tube used for delivering supplemental oxygen).
His eyes were tight shut and his head resting on a white pillow. A white linen covers his lower body.
Based on the post, SpongeBob’s friends, “with tears in their eyes,” kept him company while he’s “on his deathbed.” It also stated:
The thing that really made people cry was the part when Patrick said this as SpongeBob flatlined: ‘See you in heaven, buddy.’- SpongeBob Lost Episodes Official Wiki
This is just fanon, OK?
Here’s the canon: SpongeBob didn’t die (nor did he get diagnosed with cancer) in the seventh season, which aired from July 19, 2009 to June 11, 2011.
The said season has 26 episodes comprising 50 segments.
The last segment of the last episode (Episode 26 has two segments) is The Curse of the Hex/The Main Drain.
On how did SpongeBob die in Season 7, SpongeBob Lost Episodes Official Wiki says it happened after the above-mentioned episode.
Remember, the site talks about “lost” episodes?
There’s neither an official Episode 27 nor an official third segment of Episode 26 that got “lost.” Season 7 officially concluded on the second segment of Episode 26.
How about that screenshot? Is it an altered screenshot from one of the episodes originally created?
On June 22, 2019, Antoons, a YouTube channel (1.3 million subscribers) about animation, uploaded a video and captioned it “SpongeBob’s Defbed (feat. Felix the Cat).”
With over 58.7 million views, the 4-minute video shows a dying SpongeBob, with the following visiting him:
- Gary the Snail
- Mr. Krabs
- Mrs. Puff
- Patrick Star
- Sandy Cheeks
And, yes, Felix the Cat dropped by (would you believe?) as well as Courage from Cartoon Network’s animated series Courage the Cowardly Dog(1999-2002), which lasted for four seasons.
YouTube user Uncle Buns (@unclebuns5286) posted in the comment section in 2021:
If Nickelodeon sues the creator [Antoons/the video creator], that means this is canon.- Uncle Buns (@unclebuns5286)
The scene where Sandy Cheeks is grieving beside SpongeBob is reminiscent of a scene from No Weenies Allowed(Season 3, Episode 8a; aired: March 15, 2002).
Sandy Cheeks (not grieving, though; just worried) rushed SpongeBob to a hospital after sustaining injuries from a bar.
There are also TikTok videos indicating SpongeBob’s demise.
Those video clips show how did SpongeBob die: he exploded!
Said video shows Squidward and SpongeBob sitting and watching the sunset together, albeit there’s a brick wall separating them.
Then as the sun finally disappears and the surroundings become dark, an explosion can be heard on the side of SpongeBob. Afterwards, Squidward is seen placing flowers on SpongeBob’s grave.
A smiling SpongeBob’s face with two front teeth showing on a tombstone with flowers at Floater’s Cemetery
TikToker BigDaddyP1980 is one of those who uploaded clips showing Squidward visiting the grave of SpongeBob. He uploaded his on April 25, 2023.
It shows a gloomy and teary-eyed Squidward in a cemetery. He’s holding a bunch of flowers and laid it in front of a tombstone and then left.
The camera pans on the front part of the tombstone - and the face of a smiling SpongeBob appears on it.
Upon research, one can discover that those clips are taken from two different episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants.
The part where SpongeBob supposedly exploded is from the segment, Dying for Pie(Season 2, Episode 4a; aired: January 27, 2001). For reference, Episode 4b or the second segment is Imitation Krabs(aired on the same date).
In that episode, Squidward bought a pie from a group of pirates and brought it to the Krusty Krab. There he found out that it has explosives in it.
Later, Squidward thought SpongeBob ate the pie; therefore, he dismissed that SpongeBob would eventually explode and die.
That explains why there was a brick wall between them (so that when SpongeBob explodes, Squidward wouldn’t be harmed) and why there’s an explosion.
It turned out that the explosion came from a “bubble bomb” SpongeBob produced, who didn’t eat the pie in the first place.
A teary-eyed Squidward kneeling on one knee while holding flowers in front of a tombstone
As for the graveyard scene, it’s from One Krabs Trash(Season 3, Episode 6b; aired: February 22, 2002).
In one scene, Mr. Krabs saw a crying Squidward at Floater’s Cemetery, where the latter left a bunch of flowers on a grave. When Squidward was gone, Mr. Krabs approached the tombstone.
No, it doesn’t have SpongeBob’s face on it; only an inscription that reads:
Here Lies Squidward’s Hopes and Dreams.- tombstone inscription (“SpongeBob SquarePants” TV series)
On March 21, 2023, the official Facebook Page of SpongeBob SquarePantsuploaded a clip of the episode.
So far, for those asking how did SpongeBob die, there are now two answers: (1) he succumbed to cancer and (2) he exploded because he ate a pie with a bomb in it.
Here’s a third one, and this time, courtesy of a post at SpongeBob Fanon Wiki: SpongeBob didn’t survive after jumping off a cliff.
Why would he do that?
According to the post titled “SpongeBob Dies,” the diamond ring he brought with him fell on the cliff.
SpongeBob and his unnamed girlfriend went hiking and took a rest near a cliff to view the sunset. Perhaps SpongeBob was about to propose when the ring fell.
How did SpongeBob die this time? He jumped off a cliff to retrieve a ring.
This fanon comes from a certain PangolinBatAxolotl (that’s three animal names combined!), and according to the post, “everyone . . . downvoted it.”
Remember what we wrote regarding fanon being the “things that fans collectively agree on?” This fanon - SpongeBob jumping off a cliff and dying - has been collectively disagreedupon by fans.
Patrick and SpongeBob under a heat lamp in a scene from ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’
There’s another incident of SpongeBob’s death. However, it didn’t happen in the TV series; rather, it occurred in a movie.
In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004), a box office hit, SpongeBob and Patrick embarked on a journey to retrieve King Neptune’s stolen crown from Shell City, believed to be a dangerous place for sea creatures.
Towards the climax of the movie, they find themselves placed under a heat lamp in Shell City, which turns out to be just a gift shop (full name: Shell City Marine Gifts & Sundries) and not really a city.
The heat starts to dry them out. SpongeBob and Patrick become lifeless and appear to have lost all hope.
If you now ask how did SpongeBob die, a heat lamp slowly sucked the life out of him by drying him up (in the movie).
SpongeBob drying up in the movie; a dead SpongeBob as a real yellow sea sponge
However, they are ultimately saved by the tears they shed while they’re slowly drying. The tears traveled all its way to the electric outlet, where the heat lamp was plugged in, causing a short circuit.
A smoke was produced and it activated the sprinkler system, drenching them up.
Actor David Hasselhoff makes a guest appearance in the movie as himself. He swims his way to Bikini Bottom, with SpongeBob and Patrick riding on his back.
So, while SpongeBob and Patrick dried up, they didn’t die in the movie because the water from the sprinkler system revived them.
Stephen Hilgenberg in plain black polo shirt, with an unbuttoned collar at Nickelodeon Animation Studio
The one who died is the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen Hillenburg (1961-2018).
He directed and co-wrote the first SpongeBobfilm. He also co-wrote the second one, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015), where he’s one of the executive producers, too.
Hillenburg was 57 when he lost his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the renowned captain (1935-1941) of the New York Yankees.
ALS is a progressive and neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Thomas James “Tom” Kenny is very much alive as of this writing.
This New York native, who turned 61 in July 2023, has been the only voice of SpongeBob since the show’s first broadcast in 1999.
He attended the Huntington Comic & Toy Convention on August 12, 2023 in West Virginia as one of its distinct guests.
A smiling Tom Kenny in plain light pink long sleeved shirt and black-rimmed glasses
SpongeBob SquarePantsis currently on Season 13, which has been airing since October 22, 2020. The last episode will air on November 1, 2023, according to Nickelodeon.Fandom.com.
Per NickALive!, Season 14 will premier in November 2023.
Nickelodeon already renewed the cartoon showfor Season 15, reported Variety in September 2023.
Per IMDb, the fourth SpongeBobfilm will be released in May 2025, with the title, The SpongeBob Movie: Search for SquarePants.
Derek Drymon, the TV show’s former creative director from 1999 to 2004, will direct it.
We need to be familiar with fanfiction and fanon to know why there have been talks about how did SpongeBob die.
In summary, fanfiction is a type of creative work created by fans, while fanon refers to the collective beliefs and interpretations that fans develop within a fan community.
They are related concepts but have distinct meanings.
After reading about the alleged demise of the world’s favorite sponge, you won’t anymore be confused when asked: “How did SpongeBob die?”