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Creator Of The GIF, Stephen Wilhite, Has Died

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Creator Of The GIF, Stephen Wilhite, Has Died

Stephen Wilhite, the man who created the GIF format back in the 1980s and helped establish the foundation for online interactions as we know them, has died from Covid-19 related complications.

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The Verge reports that the 74-year-old Wilhite is survived by his wife, Kathaleen, and their children and grandchildren.

Wilhite worked at an early internet company called CompuServe in the '80s, where he would create the GIF - an accomplishment that his wife Kathaleen has said he always ranked among his proudest. Wilhite left CompuServe in 2001 and spent a blissful retirement dedicated to his family and his hobbies.

While the GIF was originally designed as a workaround to display animation in the face of awful early internet speeds, it has since become a staple of our online lives.

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There are now dozens of websites that allow people to effortlessly create their very own GIFs, taking snippets from their favourite TV shows and movies so that can express themselves and react to news in various ways. There can't be many of us that go more than a day without posting at least one GIF - either in a group chat, social media, or online forums.

The GIF has become an inescapable part of everyday communication, and Wilhite quite rightly received a lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Webby Awards for his invention.

Stephen Wilite's obituary can be found on the Megie Funeral Home website, which is currently also overflowing with tributes from friends and admirers.

Featured Image Credit: The Webby Awards

Topics: PC

Ewan Moore
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