Richard 'Dick' Winters passed away on 2 January (11) - less than three weeks short of his 93rd birthday.
In 1942, Winters was assigned to lead the E Company of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which he led until the end of World War II.
Winters' brave efforts to keep his unit together inspired historian Stephen E. Ambrose to write 1992 book Band of Brothers, which spawned the hit 2001 U.S. TV show produced by Hanks and director Steven Spielberg.
The mini-series was the most expensive ever made, with a budget of approximately $125 million (£83 million), and brought Winters international attention.
However, the war veteran was uncomfortable being labelled a hero and shied away from interviews, preferring instead to give talks at local schools.
According to PennLive.com, he was hailed by former U.S. President George W. Bush as "a fine example... for those brave souls who now wear our nation's uniform."