George A. Romero, who created the zombie film genre with his 1968 Night of the Living Dead, passed away on Sunday. He was 77.
The actor died in his sleep following a battle with lung cancer, his manager Chris Roe confirmed.
"Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his all-time favourite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side," the statement from his manager read.
When Romero made first film in his gruesome and satirical horror film series about an imagined zombie apocalypse, it was criticised for being gory.
However, a few negative comments did not stop the film from becoming a cult classic.
Other notable films in the series include Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.
After Night of the Living Dead he directed films including There's Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch, and The Crazies, although none had the impact of his first film.
Among his other films from the 1980s and 1990s were Monkey Shines, Edgar Allen Poe adaptation Two Evil Eyes, in collaboration with Dario Argento, The Dark Half and Bruiser.
He is survived by his wife Suzanne and two children.
Many Hollywood celebrities paid tribute to Romero on social media.
"Sad to hear my favourite collaborator--and good old friend--George Romero has died. George, there will never be another like you," wrote Stephen King.
Eli Roth, director of Cabin Fever and Hostel, wrote, "Hard to quantify how much he inspired me and what he did for cinema..."
Actor Bruce Campbell tweeted, “Night of the Living Dead was a cornerstone of the genre. Massively influential. He was bright and very sweet to me. Safe journey, George."
Director Guillermo del Toro shared wrote, "Romero has passed away. Hard to find words right now. The loss is so enormous."