Stan Lee, the legendary chief wrier and editor of Marvel Comics, died Monday in Los Angeles at the age of 95.

No official cause of death was reported immediately, although Lee had suffered multiple health scares in recent years. In January, he was hospitalized after experiencing shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat.

Among the superhero characters Lee was famous for creating are Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Lee also made quirky cameos in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films over the years.

Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 19222 in New York City to Romanian-born Jewish migrants. His editorial career began in 1939 as an assistant at Timely Publications. Two years later, at just the age of 19, Lee was named the publications’ editor-in-chief after then-editor Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby left the organization.

Timely would eventually become Atlas Comics and then ultimately Marvel Comics, for whom Lee continued writing and editing until 1972, when he became a publisher.

Lee was also taken advantage of financially in recent years as his health deteriorated. In March, The Daily Beast reported that he was being financially “picked apart.” His daughter Joan Celia‘s former business partner and his long-time bodyguard were among those who allegedly defrauded him, according to the report. Joan Celia is Lee’s only heir.

Shortly after Lee’s wife Joan died in July 2017, he filed a $1 billion lawsuit against executives at POW! Entertainment — a firm he founded in 2001 to create media properties — accusing them of fraud. Lee dropped the suit just weeks later.

Lee helped propel Marvel to worldwide recognition. It eventually became the world’s No. 1 publisher of comic books, while Marvel Studios also grew into a behemoth.

In 2009, The Walt Disney Co. acquired Marvel Entertainment in a $4 billion deal. Several Marvel movies have gone on to become some of the top-grossing films of all time, including 2012’s The Avengers and this year’s Avengers: Infinity War, which had record opening-weekend box office sales and amassed $2.05 billion worldwide.

According to The New York Times, Lee started reading Shakespeare when he was only 10 years old. He also reportedly enjoyed pulp magazines and novels from renown authors like Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle.


“For years, kids have been asking me what’s the greatest superpower,” Lee told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. “I always say luck. If you’re lucky, everything works. I’ve been lucky.”

Dozens of people paid tribute to Lee on social media Monday, including Captain America star Chris Evans and Disney CEO Bob Igerwho said in a statement: “Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created. A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart.”

Two Marvel films are set to be released in 2019: Captain Marvel and Avengers: Infinity War Part II. 

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