George Romero, the Godfather of the modern zombie and all-around great guy has passed away today. Romero died in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles with his family after a battle with lung cancer. "A lot of people owe George a huge debt of gratitude for the inspiration", the 43-year-old said. Romero's most successful follow-up was Dawn of the Dead (1978), and after the 1985 commercial and critical flop Day of the Dead, he retired the franchise until 2005, when he released the star-packed Land of the Dead.
He is survived by his wife, Suzanne Desrocher, and three children, Andrew, Cameron, and Tina.
Writers and directors across the industry paid tribute to Romero's impact as the news of his passing spread.
Romero also directed "There's Always Vanilla", "Season of the Witch" and "The Crazies", but he was best known for his zombie movies.
Romero's influence on the horror genre has been massive, as is easily evidenced by the blockbuster success of shows like The Walking Dead.
His filmmaking partner Peter Grunwald referred to it as "a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer" in a statement to the LA Times. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and most of his films are set in/around the Pittsburgh area. This grew boring, so Romero and his friend John Russo began working on a script for the film that would eventually become Night of the Living Dead (1968). When asked about his fascination with zombies, Romero told NPR "In my work, [it's] usually the humans that are the worst".
Night of the Living Dead kicked off a career in which Romero wrote, produced and directed films dealing with horror and vampires. The director, who mixed social commentary with the gore, most recently returned to the zombie genre with the Empire of the Dead graphic novel.
Thank-you George, you will be missed.