(RNN) - A horror film pioneer credited with launching the zombie film genre in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead, director George Romero died Sunday at age 77, Romero's manager, Chris Roe, has confirmed.
Roe said the director died listening to the core of The Quiet Man, one of his favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne, and daughter, Tina, by his side. Roe said Romero died after battling lung cancer.
Shot in Pittsburgh with a budget of just over $100,000 in 1968, Romero's campy, black-and-white Night of the Living Dead has become a cult classic and an inspiration for horror film directors. It grossed around $30 million worldwide (equal to around $210 million in 2017), according to the Internet Movie Database.
Upon news of his death, Romero's fellow horror film legends paid tribute on social media.
Sad to hear my favorite collaborator--and good old friend--George Romero has died. George, there will never be another like you.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 16, 2017
Romero has passed away. Hard to find words right now. The loss is so enormous.
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) July 16, 2017
In an interview with Bravo TV in 2004, Romero said a moment after the film's final edit, he and the crew threw the reels into a truck and drove from Pittsburgh to New York City hoping to get a screening that night at any theater that would take the movie.
After the success of Night of the Living Dead, Romero made a string of non-zombie flicks before returning to the genre in Dawn of the Dead in 1978 and Day of the Dead in 1985.
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