Filmmaker George Romero, who made his name as director of the “Living Dead” zombie franchise, has died aged 77, his agent Chris Roe said on July 16.

“Legendary filmmaker George A Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his all-time favourite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side,” Roe said.

“He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time.”

Romero rose to prominence with the film Night Of The Living Dead in 1968. Shot on a budget of US$114,000, it went on to gross US$30mil, according to Variety magazine.

Subsequent films, such as There’s Always Vanilla and The Crazies failed to make as big an impact, and in 1978 he returned to the genre that had made his name with zombie flick Dawn Of The Dead.

The third Living Dead film, Day Of The Dead, came out in 1985 and was followed by Land Of The Dead in 2005. – dpa