Stephen Wilhite - man who developed GIFs succumbed to COVID at 74
Stephen Wilhite - man who developed GIFs succumbed to COVID at 74

World: The man who drilled the idea and made popular GIFs died at the age of 74 due to contagious COVID-19 viral disease. People all over the globe are paying tribute to Stephen Wilhite via the internet. He has been battling with the deadliest COVID-19 virus for the past two weeks. 

He has been working to develop GIFs since he was an employee at CompuServe in the 1980s. GIFs which are globally used by people to express their feelings in chats, have now witnessed an evolution. 


He is also the one who corrected the pronunciation of GIF, which was often pronounced wrong. In the year 2013, during a conversation with New York Times, Wilhite stated that the correct pronunciation of the word GIF is “jiff”, adding that the ‘G’ alphabet is soft and that the Oxford dictionary was wrong to accept both the pronunciations. 

GIFs are now a mechanism for exchanging memes, reactions and jokes on social media. He was given the award of “Webby Lifetime Achievement” in the year 2013. Several social media platforms such as – Facebook Whatsapp support the sharing of GIFs, whereas web platforms like – Tumblr and MySpace have been built by the utilization of GIFs.

Its been more than thirty-five (35) years since the development of GIFs, which evolved into animation and graphics. Marking his contribution, people are paying their tribute to Wilhite via their posts and stories on social media platforms.  

The official Twitter account of GIPHY tweeted while paying tribute and remembering the hugely significant contribution of Wilhite, “The GIPHY team is sad to hear of the passing of Stephen Wilhite, the creator of the GIF file format. GIPHY was built on a sincere love for the GIF — and we are indebted to the creativity and vision of Mr Wilhite.” 

One of the netizens tweeted, “Salute to Stephen E. Wilhite (March 3, 1948 – March 14, 2022), lead developer of gif format. Dancing Baby was his favourite gif.”