Romero's family confirmed his passing Sunday via a statement by his manager, Chris Roe. Roe said Romero died after battling lung cancer.
Romero's film producing partner Peter Grunwald told The Los Angeles Times that the zombie film director passed away peacefully in his sleep after a "brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer". 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.
George A. Romero was born in February of 1940 in New York City. He had a recent return to zombies with the films: Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), Survival of the Dead (2009).
Romero was 77 years old.
Romero revealed in July that he was working on "Road of the Dead" with Matt Birman, who had worked on the last three "Dead" movies, but that the project had not yet secured funding. The Crazies (1973), Martin (1978), Monkey Shines (1988) and segments of Creepshow (1982) and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990) are among some of his stand-out credits.
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Although the zombie had been present in films before, Night of the Living Dead reimagined them as disease carrying, flesh-eating, walking corpses, creating an apocalypse genre that would be go on to inspire everything from 28 Days Later to The Walking Dead. American author of horror Stephen King, was quoted to say "There will never be another like you". Directed by Romero and co-written alongside John A. Russo, the low-budget film shattered the box office and changed the horror genre forever, influencing a whole new generation of filmmakers from John Carpenter to Tobe Hooper.
Romero is survived by his wife Suzanne and three children.
George Romero in 1980.
Mr Romero's movies were about much more than just shuffling zombies: they took on racism, mall culture, class divides and militarism.
RIP George A. Romero, you will be missed.