Stephen Wilhite, known for creating the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) image, has died at the age of 74.
The news was communicated by his wife Kathleen, who also confirmed that the developer died as a result of COVID-19.
For several years, Wilhite was part of the US-based communications company CompuServe. In 1987 he was in charge of the team responsible for the creation of the GIF.
The idea was to develop an image format that would be easier to download over dial-up modem speeds.
He retired in the early 2000s and has since traveled, camped, and built model trains in his basement.
“He invented the GIF himself; in fact, he made it at home and took it to work after perfecting it. He would find out everything in private in his head and then go to the city to program it into the computer, ”commented his wife in a conversation with The Verge.
Wilhite’s work is also remembered for his contributions to areas such as web chat software and for receiving the Webby Lifetime Achievement Award for the invention of the GIF.
When the researcher’s death became known, his friends and former colleagues began posting memories and messages in his memory on a commemorative page that can be visited at this link.
According to Kathleen Wilhite, her husband passed away peacefully, accompanied by his closest family. Her obituary page notes that “even with all his accomplishments, he was still a very humble, kind and good man.”