Creator of C and Unix dies at 70

Influential Bell Labs engineer Dennis Ritchie passes following battle with illness

Dennis Ritchie, the computer scientist who created the C programming language, died last weekend at the age of 70.

The news was broken by a former colleague, Google engineer Rob Pike, in a post on his Google+ profile.

"I trust there are people here who will appreciate the reach of his contributions and mourn his passing appropriately," Pike wrote. "The world has lost a truly great mind."

Ritchie worked for most of his career at Bell Labs, where he developed the Unix operating system with Ken Thompson in 1971, and rewrote it in C two years later.

Ritchie and Thomspon were joint recipients of the Turing Award in 1983, principally for their work on Unix. Ritchie also received the National Medal of Technology in 1998.

C is still the second most popular programming language in the world - based on total lines of code written in that language - and is a direct progenitor of C++ and Java. Ricthie's work on Unix was also highly influential on Linux.

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Latest comments (2)

I heard about this earlier. It's a shame we're unlikely to see people leaving copies of The C Programming Language in the streets on makeshift shrines. v_v

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Gregory Keenan5 years ago
I remember learning C and thinking it was such a well thought out language. RIP
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