Steve Wilhite, The Computer Scientist Who Created The GIF, Dies Aged 74


Stephen Wilhite, the computer scientist who created the GIF, has died aged 74 following a battle with COVID.

He passed away on March 14 surrounded by family, and his wife Kathaleen told The Verge that “even with all his accomplishments, he remained a very, humble, kind, and good man.”

Wilhite won a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering work on the GIF (graphics interchange format) in the 1980s.

Steve Wilhite has passed away aged 74 (Image: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Webby Awards)

Steve Wilhite has passed away aged 74 (Image: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Webby Awards)

Though he was working for CompuServe at the time, Wilhite worked on the project at home and only brought it into work after perfecting it, and his wife said this was his greatest achievement.

Thousands took to Twitter to honour Wilhite, acknowledging that the internet would not be what it is today without his influence, and one comment on his obituary page reads: “You changed the way we converse as a society, and immortalized countless moments that would otherwise be fleeting.

“In this, you cemented your legacy as a pioneer of modern communication. Rest in peace, and thank you for everything you worked so hard to give to us.”

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.



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