Legendary comic book writer Stan Lee has died at the age of 95, according to media reports on Monday.
Lee, born Stanley Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922, began his career in 1939 and joined the Marvel Comics in 1961.
He is considered as one of the most legendary names in the history of comic books and the leading creative force behind the rise of Marvel Comics. He co-created iconic fictional characters such as Spider-Man, X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and many more.
Those superheroes have been adapted into blockbuster films, most of which were made after Disney acquired Marvel in a 4-billion-dollar deal in 2009.
In a statement, Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company said Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created.
"A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect," said Iger.
He added that the scale of Lee's imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart.
"Marvel and the entire The Walt Disney Company salute the life and career of Stan Lee and offer their undying gratitude for his unmatchable accomplishments within their halls. Every time you open a Marvel comic, Stan will be there," according to the statement.
Lee is credited with bringing a sense of humanity and self-doubt into previously perfect superheroes, and for tackling tough social issues, like racism and prejudice.
"He would talk about prejudice, racism," said Robert Scott, owner of the San Diego-based comic book store, Comickaze. "I mean the X-Men, here was a group of people who were only trying to do good things and only trying to help and they were constantly ostracized by being mutants."
"That was the revolution that Stan Lee did," says David Goyer to the press, screenwriter of Marvel's "Blade." "He was the first one to create, with Spider-Man, superheroes who doubted themselves, who were tormented, who were unhappy."
Marvel also paid tribute to Lee on its website by putting on one of Lee's famous quotes, together with his photo.
The quote goes, "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 realize: 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, you're doing a good thing."
A savvy businessman, Lee spearheaded Marvel from a tiny geek shop to the top of the Hollywood food chain. His characters are now responsible for the biggest box office smashes, revenues of billions worldwide, and employment for tens of thousands of around the globe.
Praise and accolades from his Hollywood peers and colleagues was unstinting.
President of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige lauded Lee's unparalleled impact on the industry. "No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee," Feige said. "Stan leaves an extraordinary legacy that will outlive us all. Our thoughts are with his daughter, his family and the millions of fans who have been forever touched by Stan's genius, charisma and heart. Excelsior!"
Chris Evans, the American actor known for his superhero roles as the Captain America and Human Torch, said on Twitter that there will never be another Stan Lee.
"For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!" Evans tweeted.
Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk also tweeted about Lee.
"The many worlds of imagination &delight you created for humanity will last forever," he wrote.