Stephen Wilhite, the creator of GIFs died earlier this month. Wilhite’s GIFs, created in 1987, have allowed us to properly convey how we are feeling without the use of words.
Per CNN, Wilhite, died March 14 at 74 years old; his wife Kathaleen said that Wilhite died from Covid-19 complications and a stroke he had a few years ago had weakened his right lung, she said.
In the 1980s, Wilhite was a developer at online service provider CompuServe. He and his team were tasked with overcoming slow dial-up speeds, incompatible computer systems and images that were too large to send to another user efficiently, but he figured out out how to compress those images without losing their sharpness, all while loading quickly and universally on any computer. Thus, the Graphics Interchange Format was born. The very first GIF was of a clip art airplane soaring through a pixelated sky. Wilhite may not have foreseen that GIFs would change the way we communicate online forever.
RIP Stephen Wilhite, creator of the GIF. This was the first GIF ever created in 1987. pic.twitter.com/gqtMBqEOdg— Blade McG (@Blade__McG) March 23, 2022
Wilhite also clarified that it’s pronounced “JIF” not “GIF,” but to each their own. Below are our all-time favorite GIFs that we use to properly convey how we’re feeling inside when text just doesn’t cut it.