George A. Romero has died, aged 77

The pioneering horror movie director created the 'Living Dead' franchise, which launched the zombie phenomenon in modern popular culture

The horror film director George A. Romero has died, aged 77.

Romero was best known for creating the Living Dead movie franchise, beginning with 1968’s Night Of The Living Dead – which he co-wrote and directed.

While it was criticised upon its release for its gory and violent nature, Night Of The Living Dead has since become a cult classic and is still considered to be a huge influence on the horror genre. Despite Romero’s film never using the word ‘zombie’, the movie was the first to depict the cannibalistic zombies that have become such a popular and recognisable trope in film and television.

Romero also notably directed 1978’s Dawn Of The Dead – which earned more than $40 million at the box office – and 1985’s Day of The Dead in the Living Dead franchise. He also directed such films as The Crazies (1973), Martin (1978) and the Stephen King adaptation Creepshow (1982).

The director passed away with his wife and his daughter at his side after a “brief but aggressive battle” with lung cancer. He died while listening to the score of The Quiet Man, which his manager Chris Roe said was one of the late director’s “all-time favourite films.”

King praised Romero last night, tweeting that “there will never be another like you.”