LEGENDARY writer, editor and publisher Stan Lee has died.
The Marvel Comics publisher - who brought to life iconic characters including Spider-Man, X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther and the Fantastic Four - died early Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
It comes after TMZ reported that an ambulance was dispatched to Lee's home in Hollywood Hills.
His cause of death is not yet known, although he had suffered several illnesses over the last year, including a bout of pneumonia.
According to the Hollywood Reporter Lee died early on Monday morning (local time) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles.
Lee - who was born Stanley Liebman - began his career in comics in 1939 when he became an assistant at Timely Comics, which would later evolve into Marvel Comics.
He was appointed editor of the magazine in 1941 and held the position until 1972, when he became publisher.
Lee is credited with helping to usher in a new era of superhero storytelling, which went on to wield an enormous influence over the movie business.
In the late 50s, bored with the output of the company and with nothing to lose, he began experimenting with a new style of flawed, more human superheroes.
Lee created countless characters in his years working in comics. The first superhero group he dreamed up (alongside artist Jack Kirby) was the Fantastic Four - Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and Thing.
As Lee once told the Washington Post: "I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers.
"And then I began to realise: entertainment is one of the most important things in people's lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you're able to entertain people, you're doing a good thing."
Marvel characters are famous the world over, and its films have dominated the box office for years.
Despite his worldwide success, Lee certainly had his own troubles.
Although the blockbuster movies made his characters worth billions, the publisher always maintained he saw very little of that wealth.
As of 2018, Lee's estimated wealth was about US$50 million (A$69.5 million).
In more recent years, the illustrator had endured a difficult run.
He had a rocky relationship with Marvel once it began churning out Hollywood movies, and sued the company in 2002 for royalties he claimed were owed for the first Spider-Man movie.
The case was settled three years later for US$10 million (A$13.9 million)
After Joan, his wife of 69 years, died in July 2017, he sued executives at POW! Entertainment - a company he founded in 2001 to develop film, TV and video game properties - for $US1 billion ($A1.3 billion) for fraud, before dropping the lawsuit just six weeks later.
Lee also sued an ex-business manager and filed a restraining order against a man who had been looking after his affairs.
Then, in June 2018, it was revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department had been investigating reports of elder abuse against him.
He is survived by his daughter J.C. His wife of 69 years, Joan, died in 2017.
Just yesterday, Lee tweeted about Veterans Day in the United States, thanking veterans for their service and throwing in a cheeky fact. More than 31,000 people liked that tweet.
Celebrities and fans have already taken to Twitter to pay their respects.
Thank you Stan Lee for making people who feel different realize they are special.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) November 12, 2018
I wish I got to thank Stan Lee for how many times his creations inspired my creativity. Rest in Power to a Legend.— Casey (@LeanandCuisine) November 12, 2018
RIP Stan Lee. Maybe you have twitter in heaven. Thank you for making my childhood, teen years and adulthood so fun, especially during darker days.— josh groban (@joshgroban) November 12, 2018
"Comic books to me are fairy tales for grown ups." - Stan Lee— Danielle Malicote (@Danicote8990) November 12, 2018
As much of the world turns to authoritarians and nationalism, the stories Lee created are more popular, and important, than ever before. Reminding us that diversity is a strength and justice ultimately prevails. RIP
Can you imagine how life would have been without these?— Pye Waw (@pyewaw) November 12, 2018
Thank you Stan Lee for everything
Although the news of Stan Lee's passing is heartbreaking, I can't help but be reminded of all the characters, worlds, & stories he help bring to life for so long. His Imagination inspired us all & I'm glad to have met him in person. We will never forget you. #RIPStanLee pic.twitter.com/1YXmmHfN7S— Esteeban (@INFINITE_SGE) November 12, 2018
thank you stan lee for giving me heroes i could look up to when there were none for me present in my life. you made me want to be those heroes for those around me; thanks for the worlds to escape into when the one i reside in got too much for me to handle. rest in peace legend— anthony (@realanthonynash) November 12, 2018
Stan Lee worked on, and came up with, some of the most wonderful and enduring characters in fiction. I’ve often said how Spider-Man taught me how to write heroes, even if I’ve never fully shared his amazing aptitude for alliteration. Excelsior, indeed.— Derek Landy (@DerekLandy) November 12, 2018
Thanks for helping to create that universe so important in the history of comics, thanks for making the world a better place, more fun, dynamic and magical! and always ALWAYS with a smile on his face! @TheRealStanLee #RIP #immortal pic.twitter.com/0OozZI4GOM— Jorge Jiménez (@JorgeJimenezArt) November 12, 2018
Rest in peace, Stan Lee. The many worlds of imagination & delight you created for humanity will last forever.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 12, 2018
Stan Lee turned normal people into super heroes. Heroes that do the right thing no matter what it costs them. I believe his message was that anyone can be a hero and all it takes is morality. Although we don't have super powers, one day I hope we can live up to his vision.— Justin Chandler (@KOSDFF) November 12, 2018