Dolby Laboratories just announced that founder and sound pioneer Ray Dolby has died at ago 80. The company says Dolby “had been living with Alzheimer’s disease in recent years and was diagnosed in July of this year with acute leukemia.”

More from the company’s press release:

Dr. Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965 and created an environment where scientists and engineers continue to advance the science of sight and sound to make entertainment and communications more engaging. Dr. Dolby’s pioneering work in noise reduction and surround sound led to the development of many state-of-the-art technologies, for which he holds more than 50 U.S. patents.

“Today we lost a friend, mentor and true visionary,” said Kevin Yeaman, President and CEO, Dolby Laboratories. “Ray Dolby founded the company based on a commitment to creating value through innovation and an impassioned belief that if you invested in people and gave them the tools for success they would create great things. Ray’s ideals will continue to be a source of inspiration and motivation for us all.”

Ray Dolby (Dolby Laboratories)
Ray Dolby (Dolby Laboratories)

“My father was a thoughtful, patient and loving man, determined to always do the right thing in business, philanthropy, and as a husband and father,” said David Dolby, son and member of Dolby Laboratories’ Board of Directors. “Our family is very proud of his achievements and leadership. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy of innovation will live on.”Dr. Dolby was known for his insatiable curiosity and attributed his success to a quest for education fostered by supportive parents. Early in Dr. Dolby’s career, while attending high school on the San Francisco Peninsula and then Stanford University, he worked at Ampex Corporation and was the chief designer of all electronic aspects of the first practical videotape recording system. Today, Dolby Laboratories’ technologies are an essential part of the creative process for recording artists and filmmakers, who continue to use Dolby tools to bring their visions to life.

“Though he was an engineer at heart, my father’s achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts,” said Tom Dolby, son, filmmaker, and novelist. “He brought his appreciation of the artistic process to all of his work in film and audio recording.”

In the 48 years since Dr. Dolby founded Dolby Laboratories, the company has transformed the entertainment experience from the cinema to the living room to mobile entertainment. Tens of thousands of films and billions of products and devices with Dolby technologies have made their way to theaters, homes and consumers’ hands around the world. The industry has awarded Dolby Laboratories with 10 Academy Awards and 13 Emmy Awards for its groundbreaking achievements throughout the years.

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke (Twitter: @danbrekke) has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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