The man born Stanley Lieber published his first comic book under the pseudonym Stan Lee in 1941–Captain America Comics #3–and he never looked back. He went on to create some of the most memorable, beloved, pivotal characters in all of comics–among them, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and The Avengers–and help shepherd the industry into cultural dominance. And now, 77 years later, he has died at age 95.
According to TMZ, the shadow-casting superhero of comics was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, following a rocky year full of illnesses and possible abuse, and ultimately passed away at the hospital. He leaves behind the wildly successful Marvel empire he co-created, including its eponymous Cinematic Universe, which has a packed slate of projects in development. Though the company will most surely continue to thrive without him, his monumental contribution will never be forgotten. Excelsior, indeed.