Masters Of Horror Launch Party - ArrivalsSunday was a dark day for the horror genre, as "Night of the Living Dead" writer/director George A. Romero died at age 77. His longtime production partner, Peter Grunwald, revealed that Romero passed away July 16 "peacefully in his sleep" after "a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer." Grunwald added that Romero died while listening to the score of "The Quiet Man," one of his favorite films, with his wife Suzanne Desrocher Romero and daughter Tina Romero at his side.

Romero was called the father of modern horror films -- and he did direct some non-zombie horror like Stephen King's "Creepshow" -- but he was best known for birthing the modern zombie craze, including the original "Dawn of the Dead" and the "Living Dead" series that continued up to 2009's "Survival of the Dead" and the graphic novel "Empire of the Dead."

Directors, writers, and stars who worked with or were influenced by Romero took to social media to post tributes:

Yes, it would be fitting if he returned as the first real-life zombie. Until then, rest in peace.

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