A legend in the field of digital communication, Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email and selector of ‘@’ symbol for addresses, passed away aged 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 confirming his death.
Doble said that Tomlinson took his last breath on Saturday morning, but said that he did not know if he was at home and did not have a confirmed cause of death. Tomlinson worked in the company’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The tech world expressed its sadness over the passing of Tomlinson. Tomlison received worldwide headlines for his invention in 1971 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.
Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map. #RIP— Gmail (@gmail) March 6, 2016
Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf called his death “very sad news.”
“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.
RIP Ray Tomlinson. The man who invented and sent the first email. You are a modern day hero. pic.twitter.com/kkNhQ1r6Nl— Historical Pics (@HistoricalPics) March 6, 2016