Steve Ditko, the Marvel comic book artist who created characters including Spider-Man and Doctor Strange alongside Stan Lee, was found dead in his apartment last week, the New York Police Department confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
The 90-year-old artist is believed to have died two days before he was found, but news of his death only surfaced Friday, said Variety.
Ditko was born in Johnstown, Penn., in 1927. He drew early inspiration from comic characters such as Batman and The Spirit.
He began working as a comic artist while he was enlisted in the military, drawing in newspapers that were syndicated by the army, Variety noted.
Ditko later studied under Jerry Robinson, a Batman artist, before he joined Marvel in its early days.
Together with Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Stan Lee, Ditko created Spider-Man in the early 1960s.
Ditko has been credited with designing Spidey’s costume.
The character made its debut in Amazing Fantasy No. 15 and it became a surprise hit.
The Amazing Spider-Man was subsequently born, and Ditko would create villains including the Lizard, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus.
He would go on to create Doctor Strange two years after Spider-Man.
Ditko later became embroiled in a conflict with Lee that would see him leave Marvel and start drawing for DC Comics, though he would later return for a time.
He was a private person, with some calling him the “J.D. Salinger” of comics.
Actor Tom Holland, who portrayed Spider-Man in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and other films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, offered a tribute to Ditko on Twitter, writing that he “crushed it” when it came to leaving his mark on the world.
News of Ditko’s death drew an outpouring from artists on social media.