THE US Navy sailor pictured kissing a woman in New York City's Times Square at the end of World War II has passed away aged 95.
George Mendonsa was captured in the iconic image kissing dental assistant Greta Zimmer Friedman amid celebrations in Manhattan on V-J Day (August 14, 1945) – the day Japan surrendered to the United States.
The photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt became one of the most famous images of the 20th century, although it was years before Mr Mendonsa and Ms Friedman were confirmed to be the pictured couple.
Mr Mendonsa died on Sunday after falling and suffering a seizure at the assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island, where he lived with his wife of 70 years, his daughter Sharon Molleur said today.
His passing came just two days before he was due to celebrate his 96th birthday. The family have not yet made funeral arrangements.
Ms Friedman died in 2016 at the age of 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.
The iconic photograph was originally published by Life Magazine under the title "V-J Day in Times Square", but is best-known simply as "The Kiss". A Navy photographer snapped the kiss from another angle.
Several people claimed to be the kissing couple before the identities of Mr Mendonsa and Mr Friedman were confirmed decades later.
Mr Mendonsa served on a destroyer during the war and was on leave from the US Navy when Japan's surrender was announced, after which he and thousands of others – including Ms Friedman – spilled out onto the streets to celebrate.
He previous explained how Ms Friedman, whose uniform was similar to those worn by nurses at the time, reminded him of women he saw care for wounded sailors on a hospital ship in the Pacific.
Ms Friedman fled Austria during the war as a teenager, while the photographer Mr Eisenstaedt – who was Jewish – fled Nazi Germany a decade previously in 1935.