Adam West, best known to the world as Batman, died Friday in Los Angeles at the age of 88, according to the Hollywood Reporter. A family spokesperson says the actor had been battling leukemia. “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,” his family said in a statement. West played the caped crusader in Batman for three seasons and a movie starting in 1966. The campy role was his big break. “You can’t play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way without giving the audience the sense that there’s something behind that mask waiting to get out, that he’s a little crazed," West once said of the character.
After Batman ended, West came to resent the role, which kept him from getting work, Variety reports. He resorted to appearing as Batman at car shows and other events, moving from Hollywood to Idaho. He later popularized himself with a new generation as the voice of Mayor Adam West on Family Guy while eventually coming around to his famous role. "I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too ... I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.” West received a star on the Hollywood Hall of Fame in 2012. Two years later, he told fans: "I’m so grateful. I’m the luckiest actor in the world, folks, to have you still hanging around.” West is survived by his wife, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.