John Rogers, the longest-serving president of San Diego Comic-Con (aka Comic-Con International), has passed away from brain cancer. He had been in the position since 1986.
The official Comic-Con Twitter account confirmed the unfortunate news of Rogers' passing in three posts:
"It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of John Rogers, President of Comic-Con. John died on Saturday, November 10, 2018 as a result of complications from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer," began the message. "As our longest serving president, first elected in 1986 and re-elected every year since, John’s tenure saw Comic-Con grow from a select gathering of fans to the largest and most prestigious convention of its kind in the world."
The final tweet urged fans to donate to The American Brain Tumor Association or American Civil Liberties Union, instead of sending Rogers' family flowers.
Rogers became a part of San Diego Comic-Con in 1978, eight years after the convention was first held, in March 1970. Since '78, he dedicated 35 years of his life to the annual event, which has become the premier convention for film, TV, comics, toys, video games, and more. In other words, Rogers got to see the beloved nerd-centric mecca balloon to 130,000 attendees every summer (originally 5,000).
As president, Rogers was still able to work a full-time job as a telecommunications software engineer. Even so, he could always find the time to indulge in some of his favorite genre fare, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grimm, Arrow, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Rogers is survived by his wife Janet Tait, sister Barbara, and brother David. In particular, Tait, an established fantasy writer, was a Comic-Con vice president.
San Diego Comic-Con is held at the city's convention center each July.
(Background on Rogers via San Diego Comic Fest!)