News is on the Associated Press wire today that the founder of the pop-culture showcase, the San Diego Comic-Con, Sheldon Dorf, has died at age 76. A spokesperson for Dorf’s family, friend Greg Koudoulian, says he died at a San Diego hospital as a result of kidney failure and problems caused by diabetes. At the official Comic-Con Website there is a message from the Board of Directors, Staff and volunteers of the Comic-Con organization as they “mourn the passing of our dear friend Shel”.

The Comic-Con event stands at the forefront of the comic book and popular culture world as the premiere event of its kind in the world and attracts fans of comics, books, music, movies, television and many related topics and draws a sell-out crowd of more than 125,000 attendees each year and is covered my media from around the world.

According to AP, Koudoulian says Dorf was friends with comic greats such as Marvel artist Jack Kirby and “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz. He says Dorf was also instrumental in helping budding artists find audiences.

Comic-Con was an important place for the build up of Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy and has hosted Jackson, Richard Taylor and many of the actors involved in the production and will also likely be a key way of promoting the two “Hobbit” films from director Guillermo del Toro.