Steve Wilhite’s pronunciation of GIF will live on when the founder dies at the age of 74

GIF creator Steve Wilhite has died aged 74 after contracting Covid-19, his family confirmed in a statement.

The online community mourns the loss of Steve Wilhite, who developed the Graphics Interchange Format used for animation, graphics, and memes.

We take a look at the true pronunciation of GIF as once revealed by Steve himself.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for the Webby Awards

Steve Wilhite dies at the age of 74

Steve Wilhite died on March 14 after contracting Covid-19. He contracted the virus on March 1 and was reportedly surrounded by family members at the time of his death.

His obituary states: “For all his accomplishments, he remained a very humble, kind and good man.”

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“It came suddenly. He woke up one morning and said, “Honey, I don’t feel good. I don’t feel good at all.’ And he had a fever, he was throwing up so bad. And the next day he started coughing badly,” said his wife, Kathaleen Wilhite NPR.

Steve developed the Graphics Interchange Format while working for software company CompuServe in 1987.

Over the past decade, GIF posts have become the main tool for many social media users to share animated jokes and express their emotions.

What is the pronunciation of GIF?

There has been a great deal of debate over the years about the true pronunciation of GIF, and many users have continued to make their own arguments.

But in 2013, during his acceptance speech for his Webby Lifetime Achievement Award, Steve settled the debate once and for all by revealing that GIF is pronounced with a soft “g”.

“It’s pronounced JIF, not GIF,” the beloved creator revealed to the crowd.

In 2012, the Oxford American Dictionary named GIF Word of the Year, celebrating the format’s 25th anniversary.

Honors for Wilhite

The internet community has mourned the passing of Steve Wilhite and many have taken to Twitter to pay touching tributes to him.

“RIP Stephen Wilhite. Thank you for creating the gif, something that has given me great pleasure. It was and always will be “Jif” for me”, called a Twitter user.

“Stephen Wilhite, thank you for gifting us the GIF.” wrote Another user.

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