Beloved comic book artist George Pérez has died at the age of 67. The legendary creator, who has extensive history for both Marvel and DC, was this Saturday confirmed to have passed away on Friday, May 6. Pérez had previously told the public that he had been diagnosed with Stage 3 pancreatic cancer last December.
“George passed away yesterday, peacefully at home with his wife of 490 months and family by his side,” said a family representative in a statement shared on social media. “He was not in pain and knew he was very, very loved.” The statement continues:
We are all very much grieving but, at the same time, we are so incredibly grateful for the joy he brought to our lives. To know George was to love him; and he loved back. Fiercely and with his whole heart. The world is a lot less vibrant today without him in it. He loved all of you. He loved hearing your posts and seeing the drawings you sent and the tributes you made. He was deeply proud to have brought so much joy to so many.
Pérez first made a name for himself in the comic book industry at a young age by penciling Marvel’s flagship title The Avengers in the 1970s, a role he later returned to in the 1990s. In between his stint at the House of Ideas, Pérez — born in the South Bronx to two Puerto Rican parents in 1954 — switched to DC. His most famous works for the competition include helping revamp the titular team in The New Teen Titans and serving as artist on the seminal Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event, which changed the shape of comics forever, both of which he worked on with frequent collaborator Marv Wolfman.
The Perez family statement goes on to say:
Everyone knows George’s legacy as a creator. His art, characters and stories will be revered for years to come. But, as towering as that legacy is, it pales in comparison to the legacy of the man George was. George’s true legacy is his kindness. It’s the love he had for bringing others joy — and I hope you all carry that with you always.
His death also comes on a notable day for the comics community, Free Comic Book Day, where publishers provide free issues to encourage people to start reading. As Perez’s family points out, the day reflects his spirit of generosity.
Today is Free Comic Book Day. A day George absolutely loved and a fitting day to remember his contributions to comics and to our lives. I hope you’ll enjoy your day today with him in mind. He would have loved that.
DC Comics have paid respect to Pérez with their own statement, which cited his “pivotal” contributions to the superhero universe’s “long and rich history.”
George Pérez is survived by his wife, Carol, with the family requesting that his many fans across the world keep her in their thoughts. A memorial service is to be held at MegaCon Orlando at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 and is open for all to attend.