Joan Lee, the longtime wife of Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, died Thursday in Los Angeles at the age of 93.
A spokesperson for the Lee family said in a statement to EW that Joan “passed away this morning quietly and surrounded by her family. The family ask that you please give them time to grieve and respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
Born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, Joan met Stan in 1947 while working as a hat model. Though Joan was already married to an American soldier and Stan had been set up on a date with a friend of hers, the two hit it off and wed six weeks later, after she secured a divorce.
“She was the girl I had been drawing all my life,” Stan would recall.
Marvel, home to the majority Stan’s comic creations and where he was once the executive vice president and publisher, mourned Joan in a statement issued Thursday evening: “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.”
Similarly, the comic community shared condolences on social media, including both New York and San Diego Comic-Con, as well as others in the Hollywood community.
Rest in Peace #JoanLee, beloved wife of @therealstanlee. Back in January, I got to interview this amazing woman for a @legionmofficial VR look-back at Stan's career. I'll never forget the moment she said "It's always Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Man. They don't know the amazing writer he really is." She then talked about the words her longtime love had written for her over a lifetime spent together. There's a very famous story about Stan wanting to leave @marvel, in which Joan advises him "Before you quit, write a comic you're proud of." That comic was #fantasticfour – the birth of the #marvel Universe. He told us tales of heroes but Joan was Stan's personal superhero – and without her, we never get our modern mythology. They say behind every great man is a great woman. In this case, the great woman was always standing right beside him. Joan and Stan were best friends for 70 years. My heart goes out to my hero Stan, his daughter JC, their right hand Max and anyone who ever met Joanie. Thank you, Marvel Muse. We'll miss you, Madame Web. #StanLee #KevinSmith
The Lees had two children: Joan Celia, who was born in 1950, and Jan, who died days after her birth in 1953.
Joan published a novel, The Pleasure Palace, in 1987, and also did voice work in the 1990s for the Marvel animated series Spider-Man and Fantastic Four.