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Ray Tomlinson, creator of the email, dies aged 74 - and Gmail pays a sweet tribute

©  Getty Images AFP Photo / Miguel Riopa

He was responsible for the @ in your address.

Ray Tomlinson - widely regarded as the inventor of the email - has died, aged 74.

The programmer chose the famous @ sign to use in addresses, and is also credited with sending the first email.

He died of a reported heart attack on Saturday (March 5), and his death has led to tributes from the likes of Gmail:

Tomlinson was working at Massachusetts research and development company Bolt, Beranek and Newman in 1971 when he sent a message between two side-by-side computers on the ARPANET system.He chose the @ symbol to connect the username and destination address, which has gone on to be a staple of email and social media.

Since its invention, trillions of emails have been sent and around 4 billion accounts exist.

He admitted that he could not remember what the first message he sent was, saying: "Most likely the first message was QWERTYUIOP or something similar."

He also revealed: "I used the @ sign to indicate that the user was 'at' some other host rather than being local."

Tomlinson was also important in developing services for network mail, such as defining a place to put inbound email on a user's machine, as well as developing an agent to move email between machines.

He also contributed to the development of the email subject line. Source: Digital Spy

Tomlinson was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012.
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