Sound Pioneer Ray Dolby Dies at 80

Sound Pioneer Ray Dolby Dies at 80
Audio pioneer Ray Dolby, who helped usher in such technologies as surround sound and noise cancelling, has died at the age of 80. The inventor had reportedly been suffering from Alzheimer's and was recently diagnosed with acute leukemia. He passed away in his home in San Francisco.

"Today we lost a friend, mentor and true visionary," Kevin Yeaman, president and CEO of Dolby Laboratories, said in a statement released Thursday (September 12).

Born in Portland, OR, in 1933, Dolby took an interest in audio early in life, and later formed his groundbreaking Dolby Laboratories in 1965. Shortly after, the company began working on the Dolby noise-reduction system, which improved the signal-to-noise ration of audiotape. Dolby also helped pioneer surround sound, while also having a hand in home recording with Dolby NR used on cassette tapes.

His work also improved movie theatre experiences, with films using the Dolby sound system including A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Dolby racked up over 50 patents and picked up two Oscars, numerous Emmys and a Grammy for his work, among other awards and acclaim.

A tribute left to Dolby on the Dolby Laboratories website includes a video montage on the inventor's life, while noting that he "built an environment where scientists and engineers push the limits of sight and sound."

It continues, "Dr. Dolby's pioneering work continues to inspire technologies that fuel the imagination of the entertainment and communications industries and his legacy of innovation will be felt for decades to come."

Dolby is survived by his wife Dagmar, his sons Tom and David, and four grandchildren.