Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber ; December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018) was an American comic book writer, editor, and publisher who was active from the 1940s to the 2010s. He rose through the ranks of a family-run business to become Marvel Comics' primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that dominated the comics industry.
In collaboration with others at Marvel—particularly co-writer/artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko—he co-created numerous popular fictional characters, including superheroes Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man. In doing so, he pioneered a more naturalistic approach to writing superhero comics in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he challenged the restrictions of the Comics Code Authority, indirectly leading to changes in its policies. In the 1980s he pursued development of Marvel properties in other media, with mixed results. Following his retirement from Marvel in the 1990s, he remained a public figurehead for the company, and frequently made cameo appearances in films based on Marvel characters, on which he received an honorary "executive producer" credit. Meanwhile, he continued independent creative ventures into his 90s, until his death in 2018.
Lee was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995. He received the NEA's National Medal of Arts in 2008.
He is also known as Stanley Martin Lieber and Stanley Lieber.
Lee died at the age of 95 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, on November 12, 2018, after being rushed there in a medical emergency earlier in the day. Earlier that year, Lee revealed to the public that he had been battling pneumonia and in February was rushed to the hospital for worsening conditions at around the same time. The immediate cause of death listed on his death certificate was cardiac arrest with respiratory failure and congestive heart failure as underlying causes. It also indicated that he suffered from "aspiration pneumonia."
Roy Thomas, who succeeded Lee as editor-in-chief at Marvel, had visited Lee two days prior to his death to discuss the upcoming book The Stan Lee Story, and stated "I think he was ready to go. But he was still talking about doing more cameos. As long as he had the energy for it and didn't have to travel, Stan was always up to do some more cameos. He got a kick out of those more than anything else."