Joan Lee, the long-time wife of Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, passed away on Thursday in Los Angeles.
She was 93 years old.
While Lee’s exact cause of death is unknown at this time, she suffered a stroke early in the week and was hospitalized as a result.
“I can confirm the sad news that Joan Lee passed away this morning quietly and surrounded by her family,” a spokesperson for Stan Lee and his family said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
“The family ask that you please give them time to grieve and respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Joan Lee was a former British hat model who married the comic book legend way back on December 5, 1947.
They had two children together, a daughter named Joan Celia, who was born in 1950; and a daughter named Jan, who tragically died three days after her birth in 1953.
Wrote Marvel in a statements of its own, paying tribute to its founder’s beloved wife of 69 years:
“We are so saddened to hear about the loss of Joan Lee.
“We lost a member of the Marvel family today and our thoughts and prayers go out to Stan and his daughter Joan in this difficult time.”
Just last year, Lee admitted that when he met Joan, he realized that she was “the girl I had been drawing all my life.”
She reportedly served as the inspiration behind Gwen Stacy, the first love of Spider-Man’s Peter Parker, who was portrayed on the big screen by Emma Stone in 2012.
“Stan has always said I have a cartoon face,” Joan Lee said in an interview in 2002. “I never felt that was kind of complimentary!”
Talking with passion and excitement about his wife with The Hollywood Reporter several months ago, Lee said the following:
“I’m a nut for English accents! She said, ‘May I help you?’ And I took a look at her, and I think I said something crazy like, ‘I love you.’
“I don’t remember exactly. But anyway, I took her to lunch… I think I proposed at lunch.”
In 1981, Stan and Joan moved from New York City to California so the former could work on developing Marvel television and movie projects.
Joan did voice work on a pair of 1990s animated Marvel shows, Fantastic Four (as Miss Forbes) and Spider-Man (as Madame Web). She also made a cameo in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
That’s her and her famous husband featured in a scene from last year’s blockbuster above.
“My mother is so out-of-the-box and talented,” Joan Celia told The Huffington Post in 2015.
She then said of her parents:
“It’s like watching a love story. It’s been such a joy. And I’ve gone into the world, and I’ve travelled, and I’ve done my art, but I’ll tell you:
“I’ve never found anything better than my parents – and their talent and genius, and their love story.”
Wow. How amazing and special.
We send our condolences to Joan Celia and Stan Lee and we hope Joan is resting in peace.