Ray Tomlinson, man who invented email dies

Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email and who put the @ sign on the address, dies

Tuesday March 8 2016

This file photo taken on October 22, 2009 shows US programmer Raymond Samuel Tomlinson arriving prior to the presentation of the Prince of Asturias awards in Oviedo Spain.  Tomlinson, who implemented the first email system, died reportedly of a heart attack on March 5, 2016, at age 74. His death was confirmed by the Internet Hall of Fame. PHOTO | AFP | MIGUEL RIOPA

US computer programmer Ray Tomlinson arriving for the presentation of the Prince of Asturias awards in Oviedo, Spain, on October 22, 2009. Tomlinson, who invented the first email system, died reportedly of a heart attack on March 5, 2016, at age 74. PHOTO | AFP | MIGUEL RIOPA 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'
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The man who invented the email, Mr Ray Tomlinson, has died of a suspected heart attack at age 74.

The New York-born American computer programmer discovered in 1971 that electronic messages could be sent across different computer networks.

Tomlinson is suspected to have died of a heart attack on Saturday, according to a report by the BBC.

He sent the first email ever delivered worldwide while working at research firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now BBN Technologies) in Boston.

“Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map. #RIP,” said Gmail on its Twitter page.

Other comments on the late Tomlinson include one from the US TV morning show "Good Morning America", which tweeted: “RIP inventor of modern email Ray Tomlinson, who helped change how we communicate.”

The firm where Tomlinson worked played a big role in developing an early version of the Internet, called Arpanet.

Reports by the BBC say that Tomlinson later said he could not remember what was in that first test message, describing it as “completely forgettable”.

In a 2009 interview, Tomlinson described the first email thus: “Every time you test you have to generate some sort of message. You might drag your fingers across the keyboard or just type the opening phrase from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address or something else — so technically the first email is completely forgettable and therefore forgotten.”

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