Mad Respect for Dennis Ritchie, Father of C Programming Language and Unix, Dead at 70

Paul Lilly

Thank you Dennis Ritchie, for without you, our digital lives may have turned out far less awesome than what they are now. Ritchie, for anyone who doesn't recognize the name, created the C programming language, which is still popular today and is the basis for many other programming languages, and co-developed Unix with Ken Thompson, variants of which are all over the place, including Android and iOS.

Ritchie, who had been long struggling with an illness, passed away this past weekend at age 70. His death was confirmed by Bell Labs, where he had worked from 1967 until retiring in 2007.

"Dennis was well loved by his colleagues at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, and will greatly missed," Jeong Kim, President of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, said in a statement. "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. We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Ritchie family, and to all who have been touched in some way by Dennis."

Ritchie was born on September 9, 1941, in Bronxville, New York, and grew up New Jersey where his father, Alistair Ritchie, worked for Bell Labs. In 1983, Ritchie, along with Thompson, received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery. This was just one of many awards he accumulated over his lifetime, including the National Medal of Technology, which President Clinton awarded the two men in 1998 for inventing Unix and C.

Dennis Ritchie Homepage at Bell Labs

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