John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe, has died aged 82, the software company announced on Sunday.
Warnock helped start the revolutionary company in 1982 with the late Charles Geschke, and transformed Adobe into a software powerhouse that became the backbone of the internet.
“John’s brilliance and technology innovations changed the world,” Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said in a letter sent to employees. “It is a sad day for the Adobe community and the industry for which he has been an inspiration for decades.”
Warnock and Geschke were credited with building PostScript, a programming language, which helped usher in the desktop publishing revolution.
The company said Warnock’s “vision and passion enabled Adobe to deliver groundbreaking innovations such as Illustrator, the ubiquitous PDF file format and Acrobat, Photoshop and Premiere Pro, defining the desktop era and unleashing creativity and opportunity for millions of people.”
Narayen praised Warnock’s “indomitable spirit, passion and belief in building a company with strong values that has impacted all of us who have had the good fortune of working at Adobe.”
Warnock was Adobe’s CEO until 2000 and continued as chairman of the board until 2017. Until his death, he was also a member of its board of directors.
Among his achievements, he was awarded the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Barack Obama in 2009 and the Marconi Prize for technological contributions to information science and communications.
A Salt Lake City native, Warnock earned his several degrees from the University of Utah, including a doctorate in electrical engineering for computer science, a master’s degree in mathematics and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and philosophy.
A 2013 profile said his “high school counselor told him that he had zero chance of being a successful engineer” because he “didn’t have a head for math” and failed ninth-grade algebra.
“I had an amazing teacher in high school who, essentially, completely turned me around,” Warnock said. “He was really good at getting you to love mathematics, and that’s when I got into it.”
A cause of death wasn’t revealed. Warnock is survived by his wife and three children.