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Bill 'Wild Bill' Guarnere, of 'Band of Brothers' fame, dies at 90

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Nov. 11, 2004: William "Wild Bill" Guarnere participates in the Veterans Day parade in Media, Pa.AP

William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, one of the World War II veterans whose exploits were dramatized in the TV miniseries "Band of Brothers," has died. He was 90.

His son, William Guarnere Jr., confirmed Sunday that his father died at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Guarnere was rushed to the hospital early Saturday and died of a ruptured aneurysm early Saturday night.

The younger Guarnere told FoxNews.com that like so many of his generation, "Wild Bill" didn't talk about his service, even though he lost his leg in combat.

"All we knew was he lost his leg, and that was it," William Guarnere Jr. said. "People knew more about (his service) than we did."

The HBO miniseries, based on a book by Stephen Ambrose, followed the members of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division from training in Georgia in 1942 through some of the war's fiercest European battles through the war's end in 1945.

Its producers included Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Guarnere was portrayed by the actor Frank John Hughes.

Guarnere, whose combat exploits earned him his nickname, lost his leg while trying to help a wounded solider during the Battle of the Bulge. His commendations included the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

Although he gained fame following the book and miniseries, Guarnere remained "the same person," his son said.

"His life didn’t really change, other than the fact that he was signing books and posters," he said.

When he returned from the war, Guarnere lived in the row house in South Philadelphia, where he would eventually reside for 60 years. He worked in construction, but was limited by his injury, and helped put together Easy Company reunions.

In 2007, Guarnere helped write a nationally best-selling memoir called, "Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends," with fellow south Philadelphian veteran Edward J. "Babe" Heffron and journalist Robyn Post.

William Guarnere Jr. said his father and Heffron met during the war and remained friends until Heffron died in December.

"Now they're together again," the son said.

Jake Powers, who operates a Band of Brothers tour company in Grafton, Mass., said Guarnere worked behind the scenes to ensure that his comrades received the recognition they deserved.

"He did more things behind the scenes for other veterans than (for) himself," Powers said.

The viewing is set for Thursday at Ruffenach Funeral Home in Philadelphia, and the funeral will be held Friday.

FoxNews.com's Karl de Vries and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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