Ray Dolby, founder of Dolby Laboratories and pioneer in the field of sound engineering, has sadly passed away aged 80. Having suffered with Alzheimer's Disease for many years, Dolby was diagnosed with Leukaemia this summer, reports Reuters.

Ray was born in Portland, Oregon but grew up in the San Francisco area. Whilst he was a student, he began his career in the audio and visual recording fields by helping with the development of early video tape recording systems for the Ampex Corporation. He then went on to study for a PhD at Cambridge University and set up his first laboratory, 'Dolby Laboratories,' in London in 1965.

He made his name as a pioneer of noise reduction technology that helped produce clearer sound for music and cinema and his name soon became synonymous with home sound systems. Dolby Laboratories was moved to San Francisco in 1976 and was rewarded for his innovations in sound technology by being presented with an Oscar in 1989 for his contributions to cinema which he accepted with his company's executive, Ioan Allen.

Dolby would also be awarded an Emmy in 1989 and 2005 and a Grammy in 1995 as his company became a household name with its enterprising developments in sound recording.

He is survived by his wife, Dagmar, and their two sons. Tom Dolby, one of his sons, filmmaker and novelist, said of his father: "Though he was an engineer at heart, my father's achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts. He brought his appreciation of the artistic process to all of his work in film and audio recording."

Kevin Yeaman, the current president of Dolby Laboratories, described the late engineer as "a true visionary," via BBC News. Similarly, Neil Portnow, who is responsible for the Recording Academy behind the Grammy Awards, said Dolby's work "changed the way we listen to music and movies for nearly 50 years," adding "His technologies have become an essential part of the creative process for recording artists and filmmakers, ensuring his remarkable legacy for generations to come."

An active philanthropist, Ray has a theatre, a ballroom, and a medical centre in America named after him. His wife of 47 years Dagmar said "Ray really managed to have a dream job. Because he could do exactly what he wanted to do, whichever way he wanted to do it, and in the process, did a lot of good for many music and film lovers."