Director George A. Romero, best known for pioneering the zombie movie genre, has passed away following a battle with lung cancer, according to members of his family.

A native of the Bronx who attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Romero is most famous for his work behind the groundbreaking film Night of the Living Dead, a 1968 cult classic that would go on to spawn an entire subsection of movies within the horror genre. Night of the Living Dead was the first film to introduce the concept of zombies as undead, human-eating cannibals, and helped introduce the concept of a "splatter film," a category of the horror genre focused on graphic violence.

The legacy of Romero's film was an inspiration to other directors within the genre, like John Carpenter of Haloween fame, and it also produced a series that spanned nearly five decades. Films like 1978's Dawn of the Dead, 2005's Diary of the Dead, and 2009's George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead are just a few of the entries in a long-running series that helped earn Romero his nickname, "Godfather of the Dead."

Following his passing, fans and members of the film industry took to social media to express their sadness at the loss of a legend.

Romero was 77 years old.