Gene Colan, celebrated comic book artist of nearly 70 years passed away in hospice in The Bronx on Thursday night following complications of liver disease and a broken hip, according to the AP.

A statement from Bryan Headly on Colan's official site reads, "I regret to tell you that Gene passed away on 6/23/2011, around 11pm. Gene had ongoing health issues with his liver, heart and cancer. He was a fighter to the end, making plans on leaving the hospice to return home. He wanted me to price him a VW Beetle."

Colan, 84, was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2005 following a career that included contributions to Tales of Suspense, Tales to Astonish, Captain America, Howard the Duck, The Avengers, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel and dozens more across the comic book industry. Capable in every avenue of comics illustration, Colan's work on Tomb of Dracula, Daredevil, Detective Comics and Batman resonates especially deeply with us here at ComicsAlliance.

Among Colan's many character contributions to comics are the co-creation of Falcon with Stan Lee and Blade with Marv Wolfman.Colan's friend and collaborator Clifford Meth wrote this of the artist's passing in a remembrance post on his blog:

My friend Gene was generous and funny and kind. He was exactly the type of man who should be drawing superheroes for young people to marvel at. Exactly and precisely. I'm richer for having known him. He was truly an original.

Meth is currently setting up a scholarship fund for the Joe Kubert School in Colan's name. Our thoughts are with Gene's family and friends during this difficult time.

See a small gallery of Colan's contributions to comics below: