Pioneering director George Romero died on Sunday, at the age of 77, after a battle with lung cancer.
His manager Chris Roe tells ET in a statement, "Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of 'The Quiet Man,' one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side. 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.'
In 1968, his revolutionary film Night of the Living Dead single-handedly launched the zombie film genre. Shot in black and white, it focuses on a group of people trapped in farmhouse as the undead begin wandering the earth. The film is notable for its gory special effects and featuring an African-American protagonist, a rarity in horror at the time.
It was filmed outside in Pittsburgh on a budget of $114,000, but ended up making $30 million and becoming a cult classic, referenced in countless other films. He went on to make several sequels to the movie, including Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Land of the Dead.
Romero's catalog contains other non-zombie films, such as The Crazies, Season of the Witch, and a segment in the horror anthology movie Creepshow.
Born in the Bronx to a Cuban father and Lithuanian mother, he later attended Carnegie Mellon University, and began shooting commercials and short films after that. He even directed a segment on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.