Kathaleen Wilhite, the wife of Steve Wilhite, the beloved creator of the GIF file format has confirmed that her husband died from COVID-19 complications.
Steve Wilhite contracted COVID-19 on March 1. He was taken to the hospital after showing various symptoms including a fever and a bad cough. He however passed away on March 14 at the hospital.
Wilhite created the GIF file format in 1987 while working at CompuServe. Steve stayed at the company working on various systems until 2001 when he retired after experiencing a stroke.
“Without the .gif, the internet as we know it would be a different place. It’s a tight medium that you can learn alot about storytelling within, especially tuned for the attention span of the internet,” Jason Reed, the art director at the Daily Dot said.
People around the world have continued to mourn and celebrate Steve Wilhite for a life well spent and his remarkable invention.
“I want to offer my sincerest condolences to Stephen Wilhite’s family. It is incredibly saddening to hear. Forever in his debt; it was by the power of his GIF codec, that I traversed across the United States of America, smoked drugs with celebrities, and created friendships with countless amounts of people along the way,” Jimmy McCain, co-founder of the artist collective known as Mr. GIF said.
For more information, read the original story in NPR.