UPDATE: Stan Lee's official cause of death has been revealed.
Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee has passed away at the age of 95, following a series of recent health problems. Lee's daughter, J.C. Lee, told TMZ that her father was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center early on the morning of Monday 12th November, and died in the hospital.
Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922, in New York City, which became the setting of many of his superhero adventures, and the birthplace of characters like Spider-Man, Captain America, and Daredevil. Lee brought his creative talents to bear during his military service, entering the US Army in 1942 and working for the Signal Corps Training Film Division, where he wrote instruction manuals, scripts for training films, and even drew cartoons and posters - though he didn't go on to apply his drawing skills to comics. "When I got back to the civilian life, I saw how talented the artists were that were doing those comics," Lee explained in a 2010 interview with NPR. "And I wasn't about to try to compete with them, so I stuck with writing."
Lee completed his World War II military service in 1945 and returned to his earlier career in comics, writing stories in a variety of genres for Atlas Comics - the publisher that would go on, in 1961, to be rebranded as Marvel Comics. That same year, Lee and his regular collaborator, Jack Kirby, unveiled Marvel's "first family" - the Fantastic Four. In the years that followed, Lee and Kirby went on to create many of the characters that would go on to become the stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe half a century later, including Iron Man, Thor, and the Incredible Hulk.
With the advent of the golden age of superhero cinema in the 21st century, Lee became immediately recognizable even to casual fans, thanks to his regular movie cameo appearances. He had his first cameo role in 1989's The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, and by the 2000s he was appearing in several cameos a year - from a background appearance in Bryan Singer's X-Men, all the way up to a jokey cartoon cameo in Teen Titans GO! To The Movies (in which Lee declares, "I don't care if it's a DC movie. I love cameos!")
Lee's wife, Joan Lee, passed away in 2017 after almost 70 years of marriage, and Stan's final year of life was sadly afflicted with ill health (in particular, a bad bout of pneumonia) and a growing public concern that he was being subjected to elder abuse by those close to him. Nonetheless, Lee continued to reach out to his fans, and as recently as a few months ago was still doing signings at conventions. In a statement about his death, J.C. Lee told TMZ, "My father loved all of his fans. He was the greatest, most decent man."
The characters created by Lee and the stories that he told have played a formative role in the lives of several generations of comic book fans, and will continue to do so for many more decades to come. The Marvel Comics legend will be sorely missed by his friends, family, and legions of devoted fans.
R.I.P. Stan Lee: December 28, 1922 - November 12, 2018
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