Inventor of modern email, Ray Tomlinson, dies

Tomlinson invented network person-to-person email in 1971

An April 2004 photo of Ray Tomlinson. (Courtesy Andreu Vea, WiWiW.org via Wikimedia Commons)

UNDATED (AP) — Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of modern email, has died.

Raytheon Co., his employer, on Sunday confirmed his death; the details were not immediately available.

Email existed in a limited capacity before Tomlinson in that electronic messages could be shared amid multiple people within a limited framework. But until his invention in 1971 of the first network person-to-person email there was no way to send something to a specific person at a specific address.

Tomlinson chose the “@” (“at”) symbol to connect the username with the destination address and it has now become a cultural icon.

While he was a holder of numerous awards and other accolades, co-workers say he was humble and modest. And, surprisingly, not a frequent checker of email.

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