Director George A. Romero, best known for pioneering the zombie movie genre, has passed away following a battle with lung cancer, according to members of his family.
A native of the Bronx who attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Romero is most famous for his work behind the groundbreaking film Night of the Living Dead, a 1968 cult classic that would go on to spawn an entire subsection of movies within the horror genre. Night of the Living Dead was the first film to introduce the concept of zombies as undead, human-eating cannibals, and helped introduce the concept of a "splatter film," a category of the horror genre focused on graphic violence.
The legacy of Romero's film was an inspiration to other directors within the genre, like John Carpenter of Haloween fame, and it also produced a series that spanned nearly five decades. Films like 1978's Dawn of the Dead, 2005's Diary of the Dead, and 2009's George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead are just a few of the entries in a long-running series that helped earn Romero his nickname, "Godfather of the Dead."
Following his passing, fans and members of the film industry took to social media to express their sadness at the loss of a legend.
RIP #GeorgeRomero. You made me want to make movies, and helped me to find meaning in monsters. Thank you. I love you.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 16, 2017
Just heard the news about George Romero. Hard to quantify how much he inspired me & what he did for cinema. Condolences to his family. ❤️— Eli Roth (@eliroth) July 16, 2017
RIP George A. Romero, thanks for the fun! Not quite sure where zombies would be without you pic.twitter.com/UywXceBcEu— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) July 16, 2017
Oh no. George A. Romero has died. Nothing has frightened me more than when I first watched "Night of the Living Dead". RIP. An amazing man— Reece Shearsmith (@ReeceShearsmith) July 16, 2017
George A Romero was the first filmmaker I ever met. I was a film student at USC & he kindly invited me to the soundmix for Creepshow. RIP. pic.twitter.com/IAeTECoOGy— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) July 16, 2017
My first ever movie job: I was an art department intern on DAY OF THE DEAD. I made zombie vomit for Bub.— greg mottola (@gregmottola) July 16, 2017
RIP George Romero, one-of-a-kind pic.twitter.com/18Vz6w5tEt
R.I.P. George Romero. A true legend. Started a new genre on his own. Who else can claim that?— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) July 16, 2017
Sad to hear my favorite collaborator--and good old friend--George Romero has died. George, there will never be another like you.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 16, 2017
Romero was 77 years old.