Computer scientist Dennis Ritchie is reported to have died at his home this past weekend, after a long battle against an unspecified illness. Ritchie is most famous for developing C and influencing other programming languages, as well as operating systems such as Multics and Unix.
Ritchie’s creation of C and his role in the development of Unix alongside Ken Thompson has placed him as an important pioneer of modern computing.
Ritchie and Thompson were jointly awarded the Turing Award in 1983 for their development of common operating systems theory and specifically for the implementation of the UNIX operating system.
“Ritchie’s influence rivals Jobs’s; it’s just less visible,” said Associate Law Professor James Grimmelman on Twitter. “His pointer has been cast to void *; his process has terminated with exit code 0.”
Tributes have poured in from all corners of the internet for Ritchie. “Dennis Ritchie” was on the top ten trending topics list on Twitter.
Much of his career was at Bell Labs with Thompson as seen in his in the video below.
His death was confirmed by Bell Labs, in a message from its president, Jeong Kim, to employees.
Dennis was well loved by his colleagues at Bell Labs, and will be greatly missed. He was truly an inspiration to all of us, not just for his many accomplishments, but because of who he was as a friend, an inventor, and a humble and gracious man.
President Bill Clinton awarded Ritchie and Thompson the National Medal of Technology in 1999 for their contributions to Unix and C.
Founder of O’Reilly Media and a supporter of the free software and open source movements — Tim O’Reilly tweeted: