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Stephen Wilhite, creator of GIF dies | See 5 facts about him

Stephen Wilhite died from COVID-related complications at the age of 74 on 14 March 2022; see 5 facts about the man touted to be the creator of GIF.

Although Stephen Wilhite died on 14 March 2022, the news only came out nine days after courtesy of The Verge’s announcement. His wife, who broke the news to the tech blog, revealed that friends and family had surrounded him by the time he passed.

His obituary page also showed what a loved man he was while he was alive. Here are five facts you should know about him and remember him by.

See also:
– Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella loses son, Zain Nadella
– Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan is stepping down after troubling years
– Twitter gets a new feature to create GIF directly from camera.

5 facts about Stephen Wilhite

5. By trade, Mr Wilhite was a computer scientist and he worked most of his life at CompuServe –an American online service provider and the first major commercial one in the US. Along with Prodigy and American Online, it formed the Big Three information services of the 1990s.

4. While the official story was that he was ‘Engineering Lead’ on the team that created GIF images, his wife claims that he invented it all by himself and only presented it to his team after ‘he perfected it.’

3. Although, GIF (or Graphics Interchange Format) now has a variety of uses and mostly appears as jokes and reactions, it was initially created to combat the slow internet speed of the late 1980s by turning high-quality, high-resolution graphics into a more transfer-friendly format.

2. His famous quote, “they are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story,” was made to settle the debate over the correct pronunciation. Also, it was meant to rhyme with the American brand of peanut butter made by The J.M. Smucker Company called Jif.

1. Stephen Wilhite says that his favorite GIF of all time is the famous dancing baby meme. He won a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award for creating GIFs in 2013!

RIP to the GIFs legend!

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.