According to the website Bloody Disgusting, the star’s friend and actor Marty Schiff confirmed the news on Facebook. He wrote: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that actor and old friend Joseph ‘Joe’ Pilato passed away quietly in his sleep last night. Rest in Peace, Joe.” The actor’s cause of death is currently unknown.
Pilato was best known for his roles in Day of the Dead, in which he played Captain Rhodes.
He also had a small part in director George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
His acting career also boasted appearances in the like of Terminal Force and Shooters in the 1980s.
In recent years, Pilato, who also worked as a voice actor, worked on Night of the Living Dead: Darkest Dawn and Parasites.
In 2010, during an interview with the Horror Channel, the legend opened up on how he got into acting.
“When I was a kid I noticed that I would critique how the other kids played,” he said.
“We would play ‘World War II army’ and you would shot an invisible machine gun or broom handle and I’d look and I’d go, ‘That’s not the way you die — you dislike this…’”
Pilato went on to attend college studying pre-law but said he realised one day he had not interest in being a lawyer and was more fascinated with “the people on television like Perry Mason, E.G. Marshal and Spencer Tracy in Inherit The Wind”.
“I was more excited about portraying a person who was the lawyer. Unfortunately, to this day, I have not played a lawyer,” he added.
Joseph was born in 1949 in Boston, Massachusetts to an Italian-American family.
The actor enrolled into a Catholic school and later took an interest in law.
Following the news of his death, many fans flocked to Twitter to pay a tribute.
One fan commented: “I’m hearing that Joseph Pilato has passed. R.I.P.
“Thanks for one of the best performances around. Some of the most quotable and memorable lines ever.”
A second wrote: “Another horror icon lost. Rest In Peace Joseph ‘Joe’ Pilato.”
A third penned: “Rest in Peace, Joseph Pilato. Best known for playing the villainous Captain Rhodes in Day of the Dead.
“One of the best horror characters of all time. #horror #RIPJosephPilato.”