George A. Romero has died. According to The Los Angeles Times, the legendary writer/director died on Sunday afternoon. The news was announced by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald, who stated that Romero died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s The Quiet Man. He was in the company of his wife Suzanne Desrocher Romero and his daughter Tina Romero. He was 77.
But how did the writer/director die?
According to Grunwald, Romero died after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer.” His health had been diminishing as of late, as he was forced to cancel his scheduled appearance at the Days of the Dead Indy festival in January. Actress Linda Blair served as his replacement, according to Fansided. He is survived by his wife Suzanne and his three children: Tina, Andrew, and George Cameron.
Romero is best remembered for his zombie films, a genre he helped pioneer with the 1968 masterpiece Night of the Living Dead. The film was a sleeper hit, and has since gone on to influence generations of horror filmmakers like Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, and more recently, Edgar Wright. Romero would release other cult films throughout his career like The Crazies (1973) and Monkey Shines (1988), but his legacy will forever be the Living Dead films.
The six films in the series include Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), and most recently, Survival of the Dead (2009). When asked about his fascination with zombies, Romero told NPR “In my work, [it’s] usually the humans that are the worst. … I have a soft spot in my heart for the zombies. But there are also vampires around — so I’m dabbling a little bit mixing genres and metaphors or whatever,” he said, “I like to … have a little political satire in the stuff that I do and that’s actually a big part of this.”
Romero is known to many as “The Godfather of the Dead” for his influential work. Fans have already begun paying tribute to him on social media, posting famed quotes of his and discussing the impact that he had on moviegoers for over six decades.
“George A. Romero has gone. A true gent, and one of the greatest directors in horror history. His original Dead trilogy will live forever, wrote one user, while another tweeted out “It is impossible to overestimate the impact George A. Romero had on the horror film.” Check out some of the most heartfelt reactions below, which include tributes from author Stephen King and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.