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Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the ‘GIF’, died earlier this month at the age of 74 after battling

Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the ‘GIF’, died earlier this month at the age of 74 after battling .  

The innovative computer scientist died on March 14, his wife Kathaleen confirmed on Wednesday.  

He is survived by a son, four stepchildren, 11 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, according to his . 

Wilhite started his glittering career at the online service provider CompuServe, where he developed the Graphic Interchange Format in 1987 – which would later become an internet phenomenon in the early 2010s known as the GIF.  

‘He invented GIF all by himself – he actually did that at home and brought it into work after he perfected it,’ Kathleen told .  

‘He would figure out everything privately in his head and the go to town programming it on the computer.’ 

According to Kathleen, the GIF was the thing Wilhite was most proud of. 

In 2012 as the invention become largely popular with Millennials sharing their reactions in the form of GIFs, it was named word of the year by the Oxford American Dictionary. 

Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the 'GIF', died earlier this month at the age of 74 after battling COVID-19

Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the ‘GIF’, died earlier this month at the age of 74 after battling COVID-19

According to his wife, the GIF was the thing Wilhite was most proud of

According to his wife, the GIF was the thing Wilhite was most proud of 

Wilhitetold the New York Times in 2013 that his favorite GIF was the dancing baby meme, which 'went viral before going viral' was a thing

Wilhitetold the New York Times in 2013 that his favorite GIF was the dancing baby meme, which ‘went viral before going viral’ was a thing

Once just a part of the jargon of hardcore computer enthusiasts, how to properly say GIF has been debated since it was invented in 1987 as a means of neatly compressing images.  

In 2013, Wilhite settled once and for all the long debate over the right pronunciation of the word, saying the G ‘was soft,’ and the word sounded like the peanut butter brand. 

‘The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,’ Wilhite said in an email interview with the .’They are wrong.’  

Wilhite also told the New York Times that his favorite GIF was the dancing baby meme, which ‘went viral before going viral’ was a thing. 

GIPHY tweeted a tribute to Wilhite, prompting users of the internet reaction to remember fondly the creator

GIPHY tweeted a tribute to Wilhite, prompting users of the internet reaction to remember fondly the creator

As expected, GIF users shared their favorites to honor Wilhite

As expected, GIF users shared their favorites to honor Wilhite

'In honor, here's the first ever gif! (at least i'm 99 percent sure this is the one),' another user tweeted along with a plane GIF.

‘In honor, here’s the first ever gif!(at least i’m 99 percent sure this is the one),’ another user tweeted along with a plane GIF.

An user shared a GIF of Mike Myers playing Dr Evil in one of the Austin Powers movies

An user shared a GIF of Mike Myers playing Dr Evil in one of the Austin Powers movies

An user called for the word GIF to be pronounced as Wilhite intended

An user called for the word GIF to be pronounced as Wilhite intended

'I think we should stop arguing and let the man rest. He is with Jod now,' someone replied, making light of the situation

‘I think we should stop arguing and let the man rest.He is with Jod now,’ someone replied, making light of the situation

Wilhite’s invention won him much praise over the last 35 years and even more in the last ten or so as meme culture has embraced the file as a means of quickly and easily moving messages motivated by everything from comedy to politics across the Freelance Web Design Malaysia

GIPHY tweeted a tribute to Wilhite, prompting users of the internet reaction to remember fondly the creator. 

‘The GIPHY team is sad to hear of the passing of Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the GIF file format.GIPHY was built on a sincere love for the GIF — and we are indebted to the creativity and vision of Mr. Wilhite.’   

As expected, GIF users shared their favorites to honor Wilhite.  

‘His work lives on. Anyone who uses a GIF owes it to him.Sad to say he died from #COVID complications,’ Barbara Malment tweeted. 

An user called for the word GIF to be pronounced as Wilhite intended. 

‘I think we should stop arguing and let the man rest.He is with Jod now,’ someone replied, making light of the situation. 

‘In honor, here’s the first ever gif! (at least i’m 99 percent sure this is the one),’ another user tweeted along with a plane GIF.  

Another user shared a GIF of Mike Myers playing Dr Evil in one of the Austin Powers movies. 

Wilhite was honored in 2013 with a Lifetime Achievement Webby Award in recognition of inventing the file format

Wilhite was honored in 2013 with a Lifetime Achievement Webby Award in recognition of inventing the file format

Even after retiring, Wihite kept the wheels inside his brain turning, often taking trips with his wife, camping and building his model train set

Even after retiring, Wihite kept the wheels inside his brain turning, often taking trips with his wife, camping and building his model train set

Wilhite was honored in 2013 with a Lifetime Achievement Webby Award in recognition of inventing the file format. 

In the words of the official Webby website:

‘The proliferation of the GIF within today’s meme-powered, Tumblr-driven pop culture, proves it a lasting format still among the most celebrated on the Web (despite the hotly contested controversy over its correct pronunciation). 

‘With 2012 being the 25th anniversary of the GIF we think the 17th Annual Webby Awards is a most fitting event to honor and celebrate Steve Wilhite and this historical achievement.’

Wilhite went on to work at America Online before retiring in the early 2000s. 

Even after retiring, Wihite kept the wheels inside his brain turning, often taking trips with his wife, camping and building his model train set. 

‘When we had the house built we actually  had a whole section in the basement for his train room.He always did the design and electric work for the layout,’ Kathleen told The Verge. 

‘Even with all his accomplishments, he remained a very humble, kind, and good man,’ his obituary reads.  

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news" data-version="2" id="mol-c68777c0-ab21-11ec-9086-936dd5113e38" website Wilhite, creator of the GIF dies at 74 after battling COVID-19

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