Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with creating e-mail as we know it today, died of a suspected heart attack Saturday morning at the age of 74.
Tomlinson attended college at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1963 before picking up a S.M. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) two years later.
In 1971, Tomlinson developed the first network e-mail application for the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET, perhaps best described as the technical foundation of the Internet). Notably, Tomlinson selected the “@” symbol to separate local from global e-mails which bore the user@host standard that has been used worldwide for decades.
Tomlinson was the recipient of multiple awards over the years including the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum in 2000. He also won a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and was inducted into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame a year later. In 2012, he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society joining other well-known recipients including Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf.
According to his official biography on the Internet Hall of Fame’s website, he is ranked number four on the MIT list of top 150 innovators and ideas from the prestigious school.