Wes Craven Is Dead at 76

The horror legend had been battling brain cancer.

— -- Wes Craven had died.

The horror legend had been battling brain cancer, according to a statement from his family. He was 76.

"It is with deep sadness we inform you that Wes Craven passed away at 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 30th," the statement began. "Craven was surrounded by love, in the presence of his family at his Los Angeles home."

Born in Cleveland, Craven directed his first feature film, "The Last House on the Left," which he also wrote and edited, in 1972. In the years that followed, he is credited for revamping the horror genre, writing and directing such films as "A Nightmare on Elm Street," which ultimately spawned a franchise, "The Hills Have Eyes" and its sequels, and "Scream." Still, the director also worked on non-horror films, including "Paris Je T'Aime" and "Music of the Heart." Being a horror-only director, he said, was never his intention.

"Once you get a name for doing something really scary, people assume that you’re crazy and live in a cave and all those things. Somebody asked me this morning, ‘What did your friends think when you made a romantic comedy?' I said, 'My friends all know who I really am. I'm not somebody scary in real life,'" he told Collider in 2007. "It's just one of those things that you have to get into this very special environment."

Off set, Craven was a passionate bird conservationist and served as a longtime member of the Audubon California Board of Directors.

He is survived by his wife, producer and former Disney Studios vice president Iya Labunka, his two children from a previous marriage, Jonathan and Jessica, a stepdaughter, Nina Tarnawsky, and three grandchildren.

"Our hearts," they said in their statement, "are broken."