Inventor of e-mail dies at 74
RAY Tomlinson, considered to be the godfather of e-mail, has died, according to his employer, Raytheon Company. He was 74.
"A true technology pioneer, Ray was the man who brought us e-mail in the early days of networked computers," Raytheon spokesman Mike Doble said in a statement.
He added that Mr Tomlinson died on Saturday morning but did not know if he was at home and did not have a confirmed cause of death.
Mr Tomlinson worked in the company's Cambridge, Massachusetts, office.
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald reported that he had died of a suspected heart attack.
The technology world reacted with sadness over the passing of Mr Tomlinson, somewhat of a cult hero for his 1971 invention of a programme for Arpanet, the Internet's predecessor, that allowed people to send person-to-person messages to other computer users on other servers.
"Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map," read a tweet from Gmail's official Twitter account.
Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf called his death "very sad news". Mr Tomlinson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012.
Originally from Amsterdam, New York, he went to school at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1960s. He was working at research and development company Bolt Beranek and Newman - now Raytheon BBN Technologies - when he made his e-mail breakthrough.
The program changed the way people communicate both in business and in personal life, revolutionising how "millions of people shop, bank and keep in touch with friends and family, whether they are across town or across oceans", reads his biography on the Internet Hall of Fame website.
According to a 1998 profile in Forbes magazine, Tomlinson showed a colleague his invention and famously said: "Don't tell anyone!
"This isn't what we're supposed to be working on."
As e-mail started to become a household word, he began receiving worldwide recognition for his achievement.
In 2000, he received the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum.
From there followed honours that included a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Science, and an Innovation award from Discover magazine.