Stephen Wilhite, the creator of GIF, has died at 74

RIP Stephen Wilhite, the creator of Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) died last week from COVID at the age of 74, correct pronunciation of GIF or JIF?
Stephen Wilhite, the creator of GIF, has died at 74

RIP Stephen Wilhite, the creator of GIF

Stephen Wilhite, one of the leading inventors of Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), died last week from COVID at the age of 74. Stephen Wilhite worked on GIF, or Graphics Interchange Formats, which is now used for reactions, messages, and jokes, while employed at CompuServe in the 1980s. The information was confirmed by his wife to The Verge, who stated that the influential professional in the digital world was surrounded by family when he passed. His obituary page notes says that “even with all his accomplishments, he remained a very humble, kind, and good man.”.

Wilhite was a computer scientist at an internet company named CompuServe in the 1980s. During his time there, he created the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), which has since been widely used as a form of communication to relay jokes, messages, or instant responses.

However, the company first introduced the format to distribute "high-quality, high-resolution graphics" in color back when the internet did not operate at the same speed it does today. While speaking to The Verge, his wife Kathaleen said her late husband invented the GIF "all by himself."

"He actually did that at home and brought it into work after he perfected it," she shared. "He would figure out everything privately in his head and then go to town programming it on the computer."

In addition to his passion for technology, his obituary page noted Wilhite was also an avid camper and loved traveling.

After suffering from a stroke, he eventually retired from his job at America Online in the early 2000s, according to The New York Times.

Wilhite earned a Lifetime Achievement Webby in 2013 for his contribution to online culture. Despite his accomplishments, he remained "a very humble, kind, and good man," his obituary read.

In 2013, Wilhite told the Times the first image he created was a picture of an airplane, but the classic "dancing baby" from 1996 was his favorite.


In 2013, Wilhite received a Lifetime Achievement by The Webby Awards for the invention of the GIF and, on the occasion, he also took the opportunity to answer the question about the correct pronunciation of the format: "jif", not "gif". During the interview, Stephen Wilhite cleared up the dispute over the pronunciation of GIF. "The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations," he said at the time. "They are wrong. It is a soft 'G,' pronounced 'jif.' End of story."

Wilhite is survived by his wife, Kathleen, stepchildren Rick Groves, Robin Landrum, Renee Bennett and Rebecca Boaz, and son David.

Even though he created the GIF for different purposes than what the format ended up becoming, Wilhite also had his favorite content, such as the famous animated image of the dancing baby, which went viral on the internet long before terms like “meme” became synonymous with these types of images. contents.

dancing baby
dancing baby .gif

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