Ray Tomlinson, considered to be the godfather of email, has died, according to his employer, Raytheon Company. He was 74.
"A true technology pioneer, Ray was the man who brought us email in the early days of networked computers," Raytheon spokesman Mike Doble said in a statement.
Doble said Tomlinson died on Saturday morning but he did not know if he was at home and did not have a confirmed cause of death. Tomlinson worked in the company's Cambridge, Massachusetts, office.
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Tomlinson had died of a suspected heart attack.
The tech world reacted with sadness over the passing of Tomlinson, somewhat of a cult hero for his 1971 invention of a program for ARPANET, the Internet's predecessor, that allowed people to send person-to-person messages to other computer users on other servers.
"Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map," read a Tweet from Gmail's official Twitter account.
Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf called his death "very sad news."
Notable deaths in 2016
Notable deaths in 2016
Grand secretary of the Orange Order Drew Nelson died on 10 October aged 60 after a short illness
Aaron Pryor, the relentless junior welterweight died Sunday, Oct. 9, at the age of 60 at his home in Cincinnati after a long battle with heart disease
Polish Director Andrzej Wajda died on October 9, aged 90
Stylianos Pattakos has died following a stroke on 8th October. He was 103 years old.
Dickie Jeeps, was an English rugby union player who played for Northampton. He represented and captained both the England national rugby union team and the British Lions in the 1950s and 1960s. He died on 8th October. He was 84
6/33 Duke of Westminster
Billionaire landowner the Duke of Westminster, Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor has died on 9 August, aged 64
7/33 Christina Knudsen
Sir Roger Moore’s stepdaughter Christina Knudsen has died from cancer on 25 July at teh age of 47
8/33 Caroline Aherne
The actress Caroline Aherne has died from cancer on 2 July at the age of 52
9/33 Christina Grimmie
Christina Grimmie, 22, who was an American singer and songwriter, known for her participation in the NBC singing competition The Voice, was signing autographs at a concert venue in Orlando on 10 June when an assailant shot her. Grimmie was transported to a local hospital where she died from her wounds on 11 June
10/33 Kimbo Slice
Former UFC and Bellator MMA fighter Kimbo Slice died after being admitted to hospital in Florida on 6 June, aged 42
11/33 Muhammad Ali
The three-time former heavyweight world champion died after being admitted to hospital with a respiratory illness on 3 June, aged 74
12/33 Sally Brampton
Brampton who was the launch editor of the UK edition of Elle magazine has died on 10 May, aged 60
13/33 Billy Paul
The soul singer Billy Paul, who was best known for his single “Me and Mrs Jones”, has died on 24 April, aged 81
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Prince, the legendary musician, has been found dead at his Paisley Park recording studio on 21 April. He was 57
WWE icon Joan Laurer dies aged 45 after being found at California home on 20 April
16/33 Victoria Wood
The five-time Bafta-winning actress and comedian Victoria Wood has died on 20 April at her London home after a short illness with cancer. She was 62
17/33 David Gest
The entertainer and former husband of Liza Minnelli, David Gest has been found dead on 12 April in the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Warf, London. He was 62-years-old
18/33 Denise Robertson
Denise Robertson, an agony aunt on This Morning for over 30 years, has died on 1 April, aged 83
19/33 Zaha Hadid
Dame Zaha Hadid, the prominent architect best known for designs such as the London Olympic Aquatic Centre and the Guangzhou Opera House, has died of a heart attack on 31 March, aged 65
20/33 Ronnie Corbett
British entertainer Ronnie Corbett has passed away on 31 March at the age of 85
2014 Getty Images
21/33 Imre Kertesz
Hungarian writer and Holocaust survivor Imre Kertesz, who won the 2002 Nobel Literature Prize, has died on 31 March, at the age of 86
22/33 Rob Ford
Rob Ford, the former controversial mayor of Toronto, has died following a battle with a rare form of cancer. The 46-year-old passed away at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on 22 March
23/33 Joey Feek
Joey (left) passed away in March after a two-year cancer illness. She was part of country music duo, Joey + Rory, with her husband Rory (right)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
24/33 Umberto Eco
Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco died 19 February 2016 aged 84
25/33 Harper Lee
Harper Lee, the American novelist known for writing 'To Kill a Mockingbird', died February 19, 2016 aged 89
2005 Getty Images
Vanity, pictured performing in 1983, died aged 57
27/33 Dave Mirra
The BMX legend's body found inside truck with gunshot wound after apparent suicide aged 41
28/33 Harry Harpham
The former miner became Sheffield Labour MP in May after many years as a local councillor. He died after succumbing to cancer, at the age of 61.
29/33 Dale Griffin
The Mott the Hoople drummer died on January 17, aged 67
30/33 Rene Angelil
Celine Dion's husband and manager Rene Angelil has lost his battle with cancer on 14 January, aged 73
2011 Getty Images
31/33 Alan Rickman
Legendary actor Alan Rickman has died on 14 January at the age of 69 after battle with pancreatic cancer. He is largely regarded as one of the most beloved British actors of our generation with roles in Love Actually, Die Hard, Michael Collins, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and an illustrious stage career
2015 Getty Images
32/33 Maurice White
The Earth, Wind & Fire founder died aged 74. The nine-piece band sold more than 90 million albums worldwide and won six Grammy awards
33/33 Lawrence Phillips
Former NFL star found dead in prison cell on 13 January in suspected suicide, aged 40
Tomlinson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012.
"His work changed the way the world communicates and yet, for all his accomplishments, he remained humble, kind and generous with his time and talents," Doble said.
Originally from Amsterdam, New York, Tomlinson went to school at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MIT in the 1960s, and was working at research and development company Bolt Beranek and Newman - now Raytheon BBN Technologies - when he made his email breakthrough.
The program changed the way people communicate both in business and in personal life, revolutionizing how "millions of people shop, bank, and keep in touch with friends and family, whether they are across town or across oceans," reads his biography on the Internet Hall of Fame website.
According to a 1998 profile in Forbes magazine, Tomlinson showed a colleague his invention and then, famously, said, "Don't tell anyone! This isn't what we're supposed to be working on."
Around the time email started to become a household word, Tomlinson began receiving worldwide recognition for his achievement.
In 2000, he received the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum. From there followed honors that included a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Science, and an Innovation award from Discover magazine, and the Eduard-Rhein Cultural Award, according to his biography.
- More about:
- Ray Tomlinson