Chris Roe, George Romeros' manager confirmed his death in a statement to NPR.
Roe said Romero passed away peacefully in his sleep Sunday while listening to the score of one of his all-time favorite films, The Quiet Man. His wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero and daughter, Tina Romero were at his side. Romero had been battling lung cancer.
"George Romero was a gentle giant, and one of the kindest and most giving human beings I've ever know or had the pleasure to work with," Roe told NPR.
Born George Andrew Romero in the Bronx, New York City on Feb. 4, 1940 to a Cuban father and a Lithuania American mother, Romero launched his filmmaking career in the early 1960s, shortly after graduation from the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University.
GEORGE ROMERO DIES
Romero was a pioneer in the zombie-horror movie genre and early established a name for himself with such films as the satirical Night of the Living Dead, which spawned Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, The Crazies and Martin. He defined the modern template for bringing the scary, gruesome and dead to life on screen, inspiring a myriad of zombies in Hollywood and the more recent high-rated AMC series, The Walking Dead.
Romero once told NPR's Arun Rath in an interview, "I have a soft spot in my heart for the zombies."
He added that in his work, it's "usually the humans that are the worst."
Romero acknowledged that he used zombies as a vessel for commentary.
When Romero created the cult classic Night of the Living Dead back in 1968, it was on a budget of $100,000 and as the The Associated Press described, featured, "flesh-hungry ghouls trying to feast on humans holed up in a Pennsylvania house." The film was inducted into the National Registry of Films by the Library of Congress in 1999.