After the death of SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg was announced on Tuesday, some on social media urged others to share their favourite SpongeBob memes as a tribute to the cartoonist and animator, who announced last year he had been diagnosed with ALS.

Internet access was still a novelty when SpongeBob SquarePants started airing in May 1999 – but now, the beloved animated series has become an essential part of the online world, likely to be referenced in conversations on social media by way of one of the dozens of memes it has spawned.

Stills from SpongeBob SquarePants have been appropriated and reinvented by thousands of viewers over the years, meaning images of SpongeBob and some of its companions, such as his best friend Patrick, have been used to convey various emotions and feelings such as disdain , fatigue, and malice .

SpongeBob SquarePants'​s online reinvention has enabled the show to age along with its fans, who were likely children when the series debuted.