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Comic-Con founder dies at 76

Sheldon “Shel” Dorf, the man who founded the now-world famous San Diego Comic-Con International, died Tuesday. He was 76.

Dorf, a resident of Ocean Beach, succumbed to diabetes-related complications at Sharp Memorial Hospital, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Dorf moved to San Diego from his native Detroit in 1970, the same year he founded Comic-Con. He spent the next 15 years as a leader of the annual convention, which promotes comics and related popular art forms, including sci-fi movies and animated TV shows.

“The guy just lived and breathed comics his whole life,” Mark Evanier, a TV and comic book writer told the Union-Tribune. “The Con was built on his passion and his cheerleading.”

Dorf attended the Art Institute of Chicago and worked as a freelance art designer in New York before coming to San Diego. The first Comic-Con was called the Golden State Comic-Con and was held at the U.S. Grant Hotel. Today, the event draws 125,000 attendees annually to the San Diego Convention Center.

In a 2006 interview, Dorf told the Union-Tribune he had no idea Comic-Con would ever grow into what it is today, the largest convention held in San Diego.

Dorf is survived by his brother. Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Home of Peace cemetery, 3668 Imperial Ave.