Adam West, who became a TV legend as the star of the 1960s Batman series, has passed away at the age of 88.
The sad news of West's death was confirmed this morning in a statement from the actor's representatives.
West reportedly passed peacefully in his sleep following a short battle with Leukemia, according to multiple reports.
His family said in statement issued moments ago:
“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives."
"He was and always will be our hero."
West's depiction of both Batman and his alter-ego Bruce Wayne helped him achieve instant fame with the show's debut in 1966.
However, as is often the case with such stardom, he would later find himself constrained and typecast by the iconic role.
The show's candy-colored graphics and campy storylines made it synonymous with a particularly dated brand of '60s kitsch.
It was a tone from which West struggled to separate himself, but he would find the greatest success of his later years by embracing it.
Relishing his role as the clown prince of a bygone era, he demonstrated a self-referential and self-deprecating sense of humor few actors are capable of,
West turned in memorably tongue-in-cheek performances as various versions of himself on shows like The Big Bang Theory and Family Guy.
In the latter, he became a beloved series regular, portraying a deranged mayor of the fictional Quahog, Rhode Island.
Whose name happened to also be Adam West.
West was sometimes critical of the darker version of Batman presented by directors Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan.
While no doubt appreciative of the directors' work, he said he always endeavored to find the lighter side of the Dark Knight.
For decades, he had conflicting feelings toward the character that limited his career and which later made him something of a punchline.
Of being embraced by many, but also looked down upon in a sense by more "serious" superhero fans, West explained:
"I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too."
"Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman."
"And I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it," the actor said of the character and his role in its legacy.
"I just embraced it.”
While many actors have portrayed Batman over the years, West's take on the iconic figure was inarguably unique.
So it's fitting that in his later years, fans embraced West as a gifted comic actor who offered a distinctive, era-defining take on one of pop culture's most beloved, most enduring and most recognizable characters.