Richard (Dick) Winters, the U.S. Army commander whose heroism during World War II was the inspiration behind the book and television series Band of Brothers, died last week in Pennsylvania from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 92.
Winters passed away on Saturday, Jan. 2, and was laid to rest in a private funeral, according to AFP.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Winters commanded a group of troops who parachuted behind enemy lines onto Utah Beach, where thousands of Allied troops landed for the invasion of Normandy.
Winters and his Easy Company went on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, the last-ditch Nazi offensive in Western France. He also took part in the liberation of the Dachau death camp and numerous other battles.
Winters's story inspired the 1992 book Band of Brothers by historian Stephen Ambrose, which was later turned into a television series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, and starring English actor Damian Lewis who portrayed Winters as a strong, humble leader.
The television series was nominated for 19 Emmy awards, and Winters published a memoir in 2006 about his experiences called Beyond Band of Brothers.
The men of Easy Company expressed their admiration for their company commander in an interview with the New York Daily News, after learning of his death.
"He was one hell of a guy, one of the greatest soldiers I was ever under," said 87-year-old Edward Heffron.
Winters's family will schedule a public memorial service in February or early March, family friend William Jackson told AFP.