Colorist Justin Ponsor died on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the age of 42 following a two-year public battle with cancer. In a statement on Ponsor's professional Facebook page Monday, his family announced his passing.
"After a long and well documented battle with cancer, Justin passed away in his home early on the morning of May 18th surrounded by loved ones," wrote Ponsor's family. "It has been a time of mourning, reminiscing, and, above all else, celebration. Because. C’mon. This guy."
Marvel, whom Ponsor had worked with primarily since 2005, posted this message on Monday.
"Justin Ponsor was one of the most brilliant colorists in the comic book industry, elevating every story he worked on to new heights with his heart, humor, and passion for art," wrote an unnamed Marvel representative. "He touched the lives of countless comic book writers, artists, industry professionals, and fans, and his inspirational talent will never be forgotten. The Marvel family has lost one of our own. Our hearts are with his family and loved ones."
Ponsor, who frequently signed his name as 'J-Po', was recruited into the comic book industry in 1995 after a chance meeting with then-Wildstorm Preisdent John Nee while stocking shelves at a California Toys "R" Us. Ponsor's first credited work was 1996's Backlash/Spider-Man #1, working as part of WildStorm's robust coloring team.
Ponsor worked exclusively for WildStorm until going freelance in 2000, and in 2002 was one of the initial hires for the CrossGen Comics. In 2004, Ponsor resumed freelancing with work at both Marvel and DC. A year after, J-Po settled into a long-term, near-exclusive relationship with Marvel for the rest of his career.
Ponsor first made his cancer diagnosis public in 2017, and continued to work while receiving treatment - even posting pictures of him coloring Avengers while from his hospital bed earlier this year.
This week's Avengers #19 will be one of Ponsor's last published works.