On March 14th, the creator of GIF, Steve Wilhite, passed at the age of 74 from COVID-19 complications.

Steve Wilhite had contracted the virus on March 1st. His wife Kathaleen Wilhite told NPR, "It came on suddenly. He woke up one morning and he said, 'Honey, I don't feel good. I don't feel good at all.' And he was running a fever, throwing up so badly. And then the next day he started coughing badly."

Kathaleen Wilhite had also contracted COVID-19, she was able to get through it and tested negative on March 10th. However, her husband Steve was struggling through the sickness. Kathaleen took Steve to the Milford Ohio hospital where Steve was treated with antibiotics and placed in intensive care. At the hospital, the couple was not allowed to see each other, a few days later when Kathaleen tested negative she was able to be by her husband's side. Four days later, Steve tragically passed.

Bryan Bedder (Getty Images)
Bryan Bedder (Getty Images)

Wilhite and his team created the GIF in 1987, it has since become the most popular image format on the internet. The Graphic Interchange Format (GIF), “allows high-quality, high-resolution graphics to be displayed on a variety of graphics hardware and is intended as an exchange and display mechanism for graphics images.” Basically, they are moving images and memes.

For example:


A very well-known GIF of Homer Simpson disappearing into the bushes. This GIF was made from a 1994 episode of The Simpsonsit’s generally used as a reaction to express embarrassment or the desire to disappear from an awkward social interaction.

A large debate has sparked about the pronunciation of the word GIF. "Is it pronounced Jif or Gif?" A video of David Karp, founder of Tumblr, presenting Steve Wilhite with the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award shows us the answer.


Pay your respects with your favorite GIF in the comments.

Read More Here: NPR

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