Beloved creator of the GIF dies following complications from COVID

Beloved creator of the GIF dies following complications from COVID

Credit: Twitter

Beloved creator of the GIF Stephen Wilhite dies following complications from COVID at the age of 74.

According to Stephen’s wife Kathaleen, the beloved GIF creator died on March 14. His wife confirmed his death on Wednesday, March 23.

Speaking to The Verge about the creation of the GIF, Kathaleen revealed: “He invented GIF all by himself – he actually did that at home and brought it into work after he perfected it.”

She went on to add: “He would figure out everything privately in his head and then go to town programming it on the computer.”

Tributes poured in across social media. GIPHY commented: “The GIPHY team is sad to hear of the passing of Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the GIF file format. GIPHY was built on a sincere love for the GIF — and we are indebted to the creativity and vision of Mr. Wilhite.”

Many people shared GIFs to honour Stephen.

One person said: “His work lives on. Anyone who uses a GIF owes it to him. Sad to say he died from #COVID complications.”

Another person shared the first ever GIF and said: “In honor, here’s the first ever gif! (at least i’m 99 percent sure this is the one).”

Stephen had spent time in an Ohio hospital due to COVID. His condition had worsened and he had been placed in a coma according to his wife speaking to NPR.

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Written by

Alex Glenn

Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at