George Andrew Romero, who became legendary for his modern zombie movies, has died at 77 on Sunday with his family at his side, according to a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
The statement was from Romero's producing partner Peter Grunwald and Romero's family also confirmed the filmmaker's death which occurred in his sleep after a battle with lung cancer.
Romero started his zombie series with the cult classic "Night of the Living Dead," which hit the screen in 1968 and won a big following with its thrilling plot and scenes.
After "Night of the Living Dead," Romero co-wrote and directed 1978's "Dawn of the Dead," 1985's "Day of the Dead," 2005's "Land of the Dead," 2007's "Diary of the Dead" and 2009's "George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead," which earned him the nickname "Father of the Zombie Film."
"Night of the Living Dead" was regarded as a milestone not only because of its horrifying scene of the walking dead, but even more because its hero Duane Jones was an African-American, which was rare in a mainstream movie at that time.
Besides the zombie sequel, Romero wrote or directed the movies "The Crazies," "Knightriders" and episodes of the TV documentary "The Winners."
Romero was born in the Bronx in New York City on Feb. 4, 1940. He graduated in 1960 from the College of Fine Arts in Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
In a program shot by the American Film Institute Romero said: "I don't have any supernatural hobgoblins that I worry about. What scares me is life."