Renowned creator of the “Night of the Living Dead” zombie franchise George A. Romero has died, Fox News confirmed.
Romero, 77, died Sunday “peacefully” while sleeping after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” his manager, Chris Roe, said in a statement.
Romero passed away “listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his all-time favorite films” with his family by his side, his manager said.
Romero co-wrote and directed “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968, which went on to become a cult-classic.
The movie was rare at the time of its release in that it starred an African-American actor in the lead role.
It also set the rules the creators of zombie flick remakes live by: Zombies move slowly, lust for human flesh and can only be killed when show in the head. If a zombie bites a human, the person dies and returns as a zombie.
In 1999, the Library of Congress inducted ‘Night of the Living Dead’ into the National Registry of Films.
The film, which was made for about $ 100,000, sparked the zombie film genre and spurred five sequels as part of Romero’s “Dead” film series.
Romero created “Dawn of the Dead” 10 years later, which film critic Roger Ebert called “one of the best horror films ever made.”
The celebrated filmmaker graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1960. He learned the movie business working on the sets of movies and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Romero was born in the Bronx to Cuban and Lithuanian parents. He is survived by his wife Suzanne and two children.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.