Ted Dabney, who co-founded Atari in 1972 and helped launch the video game industry, died Saturday at the age of 81.
Dabney had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer late last year and was told he had just eight months to live, according to Eurogamer.
Video game historian and scholar Leonard Herman told HuffPost he heard of Ted’s death from a colleague and then phoned Dabney’s wife, Carolyn, to confirm the news and offer his condolences. Herman relayed the news to his Facebook followers on Saturday.
“RIP dear friend. Your legacy will live on a long time!” he wrote.
Though Dabney’s time with Atari was short, he was very influential. He and co-founder Nolan Bushnell released the first commercially available video game, “Computer Space,” in 1971.
The circuit technology Dabney designed for “Computer Space” was later used to make the hugely popular game “Pong,” a key contribution in the history of gaming.
After Atari, Dabney worked at electronics companies like Fujitsu, Raytheon and Teledyne. When he had had enough of the industry, Dabney and his wife moved to the more natural setting of Sierra Nevada mountains, where they owned and operated a small grocery store, according to an oral history.
Appreciators of video game history touted Dabney’s accomplishments on social media and celebrated his lasting impact.
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story indicated the Sierra Nevada mountains are in Washington state.