Early PC Developer and Microsoft Inspiration Dr. Ed Roberts Dies at Age 68

Deep down we hoped that it was just a sick April Fools Day joke, but unfortunately Dr. Henry Edwards Roberts, a brilliant man who inspired the co-founders of Microsoft with his early PC development work, has passed away.

Roberts was a military man, a farmer, a physician, and "often credited with kickstarting the modern computer." His death was met with much sadness and this joint statement from Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen:

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and early mentor, Ed Roberts, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.‬

Ed was truly a pioneer in the personal computer revolution, and didn't always get the recognition he deserved. He was an intense man with a great sense of humor, and he always cared deeply about the people who worked for him, including us. Ed was willing to take a chance on us – two young guys interested in computers long before they were commonplace – and we have always been grateful to him.

The day our first untested software worked on his Altair was the start of a lot of great things. We will always have many fond memories of working with Ed in Albuquerque, in the MITS office right on Route 66 – where so many exciting things happened that none of us could have imagined back then.‬

More than anything, what we will always remember about Ed was how deeply compassionate he was – and that was never more true than when he decided to spend the second half of his life going to medical school and working as a country doctor making house calls. He will be missed by many and we were lucky to have known him.‬

The world has lost yet another brilliant mind. Rest in peace, Dr. Roberts. [LA Times via TechFlash]