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Modern Email Inventor Ray Tomlinson Dies

American Ray Tomlinson, widely credited as the inventor of modern email, has died. He was 74.

The cause of death was not immediately available.

"A true technology pioneer, Ray was the man who brought us email in the early days of networked computers," his employer, Raytheon, said in a statement. "His work changed the way the world communicates."

Tomlinson invented the direct electronic messaging system in 1971 that worked between different computer systems and servers. He also chose the “@” - or ”at” - symbol to connect the username with the destination address and it has now become a cultural icon.

From those beginnings nearly half a century ago, the popularity of personal email did not become a way of life until years later.

Google's Gmail team on Sunday tweeted, "Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map."