The president of San Diego Comic-Con International died Saturday morning of complications from cancer, organizers of the annual event announced.
John Rogers had been battling glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. According to San Diego Comic-Con International, Roger was first elected as president of Comic-Con in 1986 and was re-elected every year since, making him the longest-serving president of the pop culture convention.
Over the decades, Rogers saw Comic-Con evolve in ways that no one thought were possible.
“John’s tenure saw Comic-Con grow from a select gathering of fans to the largest and most prestigious convention of its kind in the world,” Comic-Con said.
Rogers is survived by his wife, sister and brother. Comic-Con said that in lieu of flowers, donations could be made in Rogers’ honor to The American Brain Tumor Association or the American Civil Liberties Union.
The news of Rogers’ death came a few hours after badges became available to fans for next year’s convention, which will take place at the San Diego Convention Center from July 18 to July 21, 2019. As in years past, those badges sold out very quickly.
Comic-Con was born in 1970 in the basement of the U.S. Grant Hotel in the heart of San Diego, California. Over the decades, the “little event that could” has grown into a behemoth, taking over the Convention Center, neighboring hotels and downtown San Diego for a long summer weekend every year.
Comic-Con’s fervent fans typically attend the convention in elaborate costumes, transforming the city into a metropolis straight out of the pages of fantasy and science fiction. The event has also become famous for celebrity sightings.