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The inventor of GIF passes away at 74; Netizens honour him through GIFs

New Delhi: Stephen Wilhite, the mastermind behind the internet-popular short-video format, the GIF breathed his last at the age of 74. The news was confirmed by his wife on Thursday over a phone interview that the inventor of the GIF died due to Covid complications on March 14.

Wilhite was an awardee of Webby lifetime achievement award in 2013 for his extraordinary creation. His creation even after decades became omnipresent in memes and on social media, which is often used for the cheeky representation of contemporary culture.

The GIF was first invented when Wilhite was working at CompuServe in 1987. In an interview with the New York Times in 2013, he stated, “I saw the format I wanted in my head and then I started programming,” with the first image was that of an airplane and that the file had only one pronunciation – a soft “G” like Jif peanut butter. Further, he added, “The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”

Post his demise, the Twitter users used their best possible way to honour him, mostly with GIFs. Wilhite once said that one of his favourite GIFs was the dancing baby that went viral even before we used the term viral on the internet.

Here is how netizens honoured him for becoming an integral part of today’s internet culture. Take a look: