The legendary horror movie writer-and-director George A Romero — who was best known as creator of zombie film 'Night of the Living Dead' and a string of sequels — passed away on Sunday at the age of 77 following a "brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer", his producing partner Peter Grunwald told the Los Angeles Times newspaper in a statement.
George passed away in his sleep while listening to the score of one of his favourite films, 1952's 'The Quiet Man', with his wife Suzanne Desrocher and daughter Tina Romero by his side.
Following the news of his passing, a number of stars and fellow directors have paid tribute to the 'Martin' filmmaker.
'Cabin Fever' director Eli Roth hailed George as a huge inspiration to him.
He wrote in a series of tweets: "Hard to quantify how much he inspired me and what he did for cinema ...
"Romero used genre to confront racism 50 years ago. He always had diverse casts, with Duane Jones as the heroic star of NOTLD. Very few others in cinema were taking such risks. He was both ahead of his time and exactly what cinema needed at that time.
"You can trace a direct line from NOTLD to Get Out. And ... Romero created the modern zombie. The infectious bite. Shoot the head. Everything."
Just heard the news about George Romero. Hard to quantify how much he inspired me & what he did for cinema. Condolences to his family. ❤️
Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro praised George's work on "singlehandedly" pioneering zombie horror.
He told Rolling Stone magazine: "George created an entire subgenre in cinema. He singlehandedly forged the tale of the cannibalistic undead Zombies.
"Before him, the Zombie existed mainly as a vague Afro-Caribbean myth about the powers of Voodoo and such.
"What George did is give us, in them, a dark mirror in which we can reflect socially; to learn what in them remain us and what it is to be human.
"George was an iconoclast, an untamed mind and a liberal thinker who used horror to illuminate the darkness around us."
'Halloween' director Rob Zombie is stunned by the news.
He wrote on social media: "I can't believe George Romero has died. All the zombies owe him everything! He was the master."
Horror writer Stephen King is saddened by the loss of his "good old friend".
He tweeted: "Sad to hear my favorite collaborator -- and good old friend -- George Romero has died. George, there will never be another like you."