Documentary filmmaker Les Blank died Sunday at his Berkeley, Calif., home, The New York Times reports. He was 77.
According to his son Harrod, Blank succumbed to his nearly yearlong fight with bladder cancer.
Blank was known for his documentaries, which covered a variety of subjects from blues to garlic lovers to Werner Herzog, though he did not think of himself as a documentarian. His former wife Chris Simon said that he preferred to think of himself as a filmmaker whose work happened to be about real people.
See other celebrities we've lost this year
Blank's 42 films, most of which are under an hour, earned him lifetime achievement awards from the American Film Institute and the International Documentary.
"I think he's a national treasure," director Taylor Hackford
said. "Although his films are not well known at the moment, they'll take their place. Films are great when they live a long time, and I think Les' will live."
Blank is survived by two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren.