Stan Lee, the legendary writer, editor and publisher of Marvel Comics whose creations made him a real-life superhero to comic book lovers everywhere, has died. He was 95.
Lee, who started in the business in 1939 and created/co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, among countless other characters, died early Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a family representative told The Hollywood Reporter. Lee’s wife, Joan, whom he was married to for 69 years, died in July 2017.
On his own and through his work with his fellow artist-writer collaborators Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others, Lee launched Marvel from a small start up project into the world’s No. 1 publisher of comic books and, most recentl, a multimedia giant.
In 2009, The Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment, to the chagrin of most fans, for $4 billion, and most of the top-grossing superhero films of all time — led by Avengers: Infinity War‘s $2.05 billion worldwide take earlier this year — have featured Marvel characters.
“I used to think what I did was not very important,” he told the Chicago Tribune in April 2014. “People are building bridges and engaging in medical research, and here I was doing stories about fictional people who do extraordinary, crazy things and wear costumes. But I suppose I have come to realize that entertainment is not easily dismissed.”
Lee’s fame and influence as the figurehead and face of Marvel, even in most recent years, remained considerable.
“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “A superhero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart.”
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige also paid tribute. “No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee,” Feige said. “Stan leaves an extraordinary legacy that will outlive us all. Our thoughts are with his daughter, his family and the millions of fans who have been forever touched by Stan’s genius, charisma and heart. Excelsior!”
Lee will be missed by all of us who have had our lives impacted in someway by his creations.