Stan Lee, the creative mastermind behind the Marvel comic books, has died aged 95.
He was responsible for iconic characters including Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Panther and The Fantastic Four.
Marvel became the world’s most popular publisher of comic books, and the basis for a long series of Hollywood blockbusters based on the characters, including The Avengers movies, in which Lee made cameo appearances.
His daughter J.C. said an ambulance rushed to his Hollywood Hills home on Monday morning and he was taken to hospital, where he died.
She said: “He felt an obligation to his fans to keep creating. He loved his life and he loved what he did for a living. His family loved him and his fans loved him. He was irreplaceable. My father loved all of his fans. He was the greatest, most decent man.”
In July lawyers for his daughter J.C. were granted an elder-abuse restraining order against his former manager.
The request for the restraining order accused the former manager of attempting to interfere with Lee’s ability to contact doctors and family members, and alienating Lee from his daughter.
Tributes poured in from Hollywood stars including Robert Downey Jr, the Iron Man star.
Lee was key to the ascension of Marvel into a comic book titan in the 1960s.
In collaboration with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko he created superheroes who would enthrall generations of young readers.
Lee began with The Fantastic Four, going on to create the rest of the inhabitants of the Marvel universe.
In 2002 he sued to claim his share of the profits after the first Spider-Man movie conquered movie theaters, receiving a $10 million settlement.
Lee’s fortune has been estimated at $70 million.
In May this year he launched a $1 billion legal claim against POW! Entertainment, a company he had co-founded, accusing its executives of conspiring to steal his identity, name and likeness.
He also claimed the company had taken over his social media accounts and used them to impersonate him.
Two months later Lee dropped the case and said in a statement: “The whole thing has been confusing to everyone, including myself and the fans, but I am now happy to be surrounded by those who want the best for me.
I am thrilled to put the lawsuit behind me, get back to business with my friends and colleagues at POW! and launch the next wave of amazing characters and stories!”