The world was dealt a devastating blow two weeks ago when comics legend Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. Now, his cause of death has been revealed. The icon died from a combination of heart failure and respiratory failure, further spurred by aspiration pneumonia, a condition in which food, stomach acid or saliva floods into the lungs. His time of death is recorded as Monday, November 12 at 9:17 AM. Lee passed at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being transported by ambulance from his home in the Hollywood Hills. He had been in ill health in recent years, including bouts of pneumonia and failing vision. He had significantly cut back on public appearances as well as signings at his home.
Lee’s family, including daughter JC, held a private memorial service, although his company POW! Entertainment plans a public memorial. Lee was cremated with his ashes going to JC.
Lee first began writing comics in 1939, but it wasn’t until 1961 that he made his biggest contribution to the art form, with the formation of Marvel Comics, which had previously gone by the names Timely Comics and Atlas Comics. Lee’s first Marvel book was ‘Fantastic Four’, which recast superheroes as ordinary people with distinct personalities. The character Black Panther was introduced in the pages of ‘Fantastic Four’ and was the first black superhero. Lee also created The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, The Wasp, Doctor Strange, and the original X-Men, as well as his most famous creation, Spider-Man. He also brought several of his most popular characters together as the Avengers.
While Marvel played second fiddle to DC Comics for a large chunk of its existence, these days, Marvel is the biggest game in town, with billion dollar-grossing movies. ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Black Panther’ are the highest-grossing movies of 2018 and ‘Avengers 4’ is the most hotly anticipated film of 2019.
While Lee was always a legend in the world of comics, mainstream audiences have embraced him thanks to his cameos in various Marvel films and TV shows. It is confirmed that he will make perhaps his last cameo in ‘Avengers 4’ next year.
As Stan himself often declared, “Excelsior!”