Tributes are being paid to American writer and former president of Marvel Comics Stan Lee, who has died at the age of 95.
In 1961, Lee created The Fantastic Four for Marvel Comics, and went on to create titles including Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk.
Actor Chris Evans, best known for playing Marvel’s Captain America, wrote “there will never be another Stan Lee”.
X-Men star Hugh Jackman said “we’ve lost a creative genius.”
Robert Downey Jr, who played Iron Man, simply wrote: “I owe it all to you, Rest in Peace Stan.”
Kevin Feige, the producer and president of Marvel Studios, tweeted: “No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee.”
The legendary comic book author died at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a family lawyer.
Other stars to pay tribute included Scarlett Johansson, who played Black Widow in the Avengers franchise.
Tom Hardy, who stars in the latest film based on a Marvel Comics character, Venom, shared a photo of Lee on set, via Instagram.
Evangeline Lilly, who portrayed Ant Man’s superhero partner, the Wasp, shared a tribute on Twitter.
And Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds posted: “Damn… RIP Stan. Thanks for everything.”
Tom Holland, who is Marvel’s latest Spider-Man, wrote that he “was indebted” to Lee.
Other stars to pay tribute include Angela Bassett, Zoe Saldana, Jamie Chung, Josh Groban, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt and Josh Brolin.
The CEO of Lee’s Pow! Entertainment praised the “father of pop culture” for inventing “universes of characters”.
CEO Shane Duffy called him “a true iconic pioneer with no comparable second”.
In a statement, The Walt Disney Company, which bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009, lauded Mr Lee’s “unmatchable” life and career.
“Every time you open a Marvel comic, Stan will be there,” it said. “Please join us today in remembering Stan ‘The Man’ Lee.”
Rival publisher, DC Comics, also tweeted a tribute.
Lee’s wife, Joan, died in 2017 – also aged 95 – but he is survived by his daughter, JC Lee.
Speaking to celebrity news website TMZ, JC Lee said her father was “the greatest, most decent man”.
She told Reuters: “He felt an obligation to his fans to keep creating.”
In recent years, Lee had periodically suffered from illnesses, including a bout of pneumonia, US media reported.
Lee was known for making a cameo in every Marvel film, though he had left the Marvel company in 1972. He remained chairman emeritus.
On Sunday, Veterans Day, his official Facebook page shared a photograph of Lee in the Army, noting that his nickname during World War Two was Playwright.
Who was Stan Lee?
Lee was born in 1922 to working-class Jewish immigrants from Romania.
He began working at the comics section of Martin Goodman’s Timely Publications – a company that would eventually transform into Marvel Comics – and became comics editor there at age 18.
But for years Lee wrote only simple comics focusing on crime stories, horrors and westerns aimed at young readers.
Aged 40, he decided to give up on comics. But his wife Joan urged him to create the characters he always wanted to write as his comic swansong.
And in 1961, Lee and artist Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four – compelling characters with individual personalities and relatable problems.
Timely Publications was renamed Marvel, and the golden age of comic books began.
Many Marvel characters were groundbreaking at the time. For example, Black Panther was the first black superhero featured in a mainstream US comic.
Other characters he created include the Silver Surfer, the X-Men, Iron Man and Doctor Strange.
Lee was also known for giving artists their due credit. Kirby, Frank Miller, John Romita and others achieved cult status in their own right.
In its heyday, Marvel sold 50 million copies a year. Until he retired from editing in 1971, Lee wrote all the copy for Marvel’s covers.
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