George A. Romero, who launched the zombie film genre by helming the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, died Sunday at the age of 77.

Romero’s death was confirmed by his manager Chris Roe, who stated that the filmmaker died in his sleep following a battle with lung cancer.

“He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time.”

Romero’s other films include several sequels to the cult classic Night of the Living Dead, such as Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead. He also directed The Crazies, a segment in the horror anthology movie Creepshow and even an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

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