Stan Lee, the creative mastermind behind the Marvel comic books, has died aged 95.
He was responsible for iconic characters including Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Panther and The Fantastic Four.
Marvel became the world’s most popular publisher of comic books, and the basis for a long series of Hollywood blockbusters based on the characters, including The Avengers movies, Lee made cameo appearances.
His daughter J.C. said an ambulance rushed to his Hollywood Hills home on Monday morning and he was taken to hospital, where he died.
She said: “He felt an obligation to his fans to keep creating. He loved his life and he loved what he did for a living. His family loved him and his fans loved him. He was irreplaceable. My father loved all of his fans. He was the greatest, most decent man.”
Lee’s final years had been turbulent with a court battle between his family and a former manager.
The death of his wife of 69 years had left a void that resulted in a struggle between would-be friends, lawyers, and advisers.
In July lawyers for his daughter J.C. were granted an elder-abuse restraining orderagainst his former manager.
The request for the restraining order accused the former manager of attempting to interfere with Lee’s ability to contact doctors and family members, and alienating Lee from his daughter.
Lee was key to the ascension of Marvel into a comic book titan in the 1960s.
In collaboration with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko he created superheroes who would enthrall generations of young readers.
Lee began with The Fantastic Four, going on to create the rest of the inhabitants of the Marvel universe.
In 2002 he sued to claim his share of the profits after the first Spider-Man movie conquered movie theaters, receiving a $10 million settlement.