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George Romero, the father of the zombie as we know it, has died

Filmmaker George Romero, who made his name as director of the "Living Dead" zombie franchise, has died aged 77, his agent Chris Roe said Sunday.

"Legendary filmmaker George A Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of 'The Quiet Man,' one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side," Roe said.

"He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time."

Romero rose to prominence with the film "Night of the Living Dead" in 1968. Shot on a budget of 114,000 dollars, it went on to gross 30 million dollars, according to Variety magazine.

Subsequent films, such as "There's Always Vanilla" and "The Crazies" failed to make as big an impact, and in 1978 he returned to the genre that had made his name with zombie flick "Dawn of the Dead."

The third "Living Dead" film, "Day of the Dead," came out in 1985 and was followed by "Land of the Dead" in 2005.

Friends and colleagues mourned his death on Twitter. Makeup legend Tom Savini‏, who helped Romero create his films' gruesome zombies and death scenes, wrotE:

Other tributes came from "Halloween" director John Carpenter and horror author Stephen King.

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