GIF maker Stephen Wilhite dies

Stephen Wilhite, who created the GIF format in the 1980s, has died of complications related to Covid-19, according to a report. The Verge report. Wilhite was 74 years old and is survived by his wife, Kathaleen, as well as children and grandchildren.

An employee of internet company CompuServe in the late 1980s, the GIF was one of Wilhite’s proudest achievements, according to his wife Kathaleen. Wilhite left CompuServe in 2001 and later retired, devoting his remaining years to his family and hobbies like camping and building model trains.

GIF, once just a practical way to display animation despite the slow download speeds of the early internet, is now a ubiquitous part of online life. Easy-to-use authoring tools and massive virtual libraries have turned GIFs into valuable tools for expression and communication on the internet. Wilhite received a lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Webby Awards for his invention of the GIF.

It’s a little mind-boggling to imagine: an 1980s computer scientist laying the groundwork for a true short-video language that, in all likelihood, will continue to be used by future generations he will never know. Stephen Wilite’s obituary and recollections of people who knew him can be found at Megie’s Funeral Home.

Leave a Comment