Stan Lee, the co-creator of countless Marvel comic book characters that have become staples in pop culture, has died.
The 95-year-old was reportedly taken from his Los Angeles home to a hospital via ambulance early Monday, where he was eventually declared dead, TMZ confirmed.
Lee previously suffered a health scare in January, when he was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after experiencing shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat, according to a TMZ report. A representative later said that he was stable and would be “staying there for a few days for some check ups as a safety precaution.” He began cutting down on the number of convention appearances back in 2015 and stopped altogether in August of this year.
Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber in New York City on 28th December, 1922, to Romanian-born Jewish immigrants. He began his career at Timely Publications as an assistant in 1939, where he would perform unglamorous jobs like refilling the ink wells and getting lunch for the rest of the staff. Eventually, he moved up to become a text filler for the actual comics, co-creating his first ever hero, The Destroyer.
When then-editor Joe Simon and legendary artist Jack Kirby left Timely in 1941, the publisher Martin Goodman made Lee, just 19 years old at the time, Editor-in-Chief.
Timely would later become Atlas Comics and finally Marvel Comics, which Lee continued running and writing for until 1972, when he took the role of publisher. Gradually, he became less involved in the day-to-day business and instead became more of the figurehead and ambassador that we knew him as today.
Along with Jack Kirby, who had rejoined the company, Lee helped create superheroes like Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Daredevil ― all of whom existed within the same universe, which way back then was an unusual and exciting idea.
Kirby’s stunning visuals and Lee’s empathic prose revolutionized the then-dying superhero-comics industry by introducing flawed, multidimensional and relatable human heroes, many of whom have enjoyed cultural staying power beyond anything in contemporary fiction, to rival the most enduring icons of the movies.
There has always been debate regarding how responsible both Lee and Kirby were in the creation of these iconic and very lucrative, characters. However, it’s safe to say that Lee played a huge role in bringing this modern era of realism and grit to the comic book world.
Tragically, in March, The Daily Beast reported that Lee was being financially “picked apart” as his health gradually declined. Among those allegedly defrauding him were his daughter’s former business associate and his long-time bodyguard.
Lee lost his wife of 69 years, Joan B. Lee, in July and is survived by their two children, Joan Celia and Jan Lee.
Lee’s daughter Joan Celia is his sole heir.
Tributes have been flooding in on Twitter and across all social media…
There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) November 12, 2018
Scott Snowden is MyM’s US Editor. Follow him on Twitter.
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