Steve Wilhite, the man responsible for the GIF format’s creation in 1987, died on March 14th at the age of 74. Stephen’s wife Kathaleen just verified the news. Wilhite died on March 14th as a result of post-Covid-19 problems, although the news was not made public until March 23rd.
GIF was initially created in 1987 and has since become one of the most popular formats for exchanging photos and memes on the internet. The GIF’s compressed structure allowed pictures to be sent more quickly over sluggish modem connections in the 1980s. The animation function, on the other hand, was added later via an improved version of the GIF file format.
Wilhite worked at CompuServe until 2001, when he was forced to resign due to a stroke. The GIF patents expired when CompuServe was bought by American Internet (AOL), a New York-based online service provider, in 1998, and the format became exposed to the public domain.
Steve could be seen in his model-train room adjusting his designs and computer programming in the weeks building up to March 1st, Kathaleen said. Kathaleen, who had contracted COVID-19 as well, had Steve brought to a hospital in Milford, Ohio, where he was treated with antibiotics before being sent to critical care, where he was eventually put into a coma. Following this, Kathaleen received a call from the hospital on March 14th telling her of Steve’s death.