Obtained by TMZ, the record shows the creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, and the X-Men died from heart and respiratory failure while also suffering from aspiration pneumonia, a condition defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as being “when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs, instead of being swallowed into the esophagus and stomach.”
Lee’s advanced age and recent hospitalizations — for pneumonia and more — led fans to worry for the cameo king, especially since there were plenty of suspicious stories surrounding Lee and his potentially abusive business partners. However, Lee seemed to have regained some autonomy in recent months.
Since his death, fan memorials and industry support (including candlelight vigils, murals, and Excelsior! immortality) have continued to pour as the entertainment world mourns a man who shaped its current landscape. Actors, comic writers, directors, and more explained how touched they were by either Lee or his countless creations.
Lee was cremated, according to the report, and his ashes returned to his daughter, Joan.