Sound Pioneer Ray Dolby Passes Away, Aged 80

Ray Dolby, the man who founded the Dolby Laboratories and pioneered the way people hear and record sound, has passed away following a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease and a more recent battle with acute leukaemia. Ray died in his San Francisco home at the age of 80 on Thursday, 12 September, in the company of loved ones.

Dolby is often credited as revolutionising the way people experience hearing sounds through his many audio inventions. In his career, he developed over 50 US patents and began an in-depth research into sound reduction techniques and technologies as well as inventing surround sound. His name often graced cinema screens before the showing of a film, as his inventions became a key instrument for movie makers to utilise in the later half of the 20th century.

Kevin Yeaman, the Dolby Laboratories President and CEO, released a statement on behalf of the company that Ray founded in which he called Ray a great "friend, mentor and true visionary." He continued, "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."

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Dolby's first career was as a UN adviser in India after he attended both Stanford University and Cambridge University and worked briefly at electronics company Ampex. He developed Dolby Laboratories in 1965, where he and his team of engineers investigated the science of sound and developed new ideas to make acoustics more engaging for the listener. The techniques he helped develop are still used by thousands of films every year.

Dolby is survived by his wife, Dagmar, his sons, Tom and David, their spouses, and four grandchildren. Our thoughts are with them in this unfortunate time.


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