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Ray Dolby Who Pioneered Surround Sound Dies
Ray Dolby, the engineer who pioneered the noise reduction and surround sound in audio recordings, has died aged 80.
Mr Dolby, whose name became synonymous with home and cinema sound systems, passed away at his home in San Francisco, said the company he founded, Dolby Laboratories Inc.
The pioneer had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease in recent years and had been diagnosed with leukaemia in July.
"Though he was an engineer at heart, my father's achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts," said Mr Dolby's son, writer Tom Dolby.
"He brought his appreciation of the artistic process to all of his work in film and audio recording."
Mr Dolby was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in the San Francisco area. He began his career in the audio and visual recording fields by helping to develop a videotape recording system for the Ampex Corporation in the 1950s.
But he left Ampex to travel to Britain to complete his PhD at Cambridge University and in 1965 founded Dolby Laboratories in London.
Mr Dolby moved his company to San Francisco in 1976, which he shared with Dolby executive Ioan Allen.
His work spanned helping to reduce the hiss in cassette recordings to bringing sci-fi blockbuster Star Wars to life on the big screen in Dolby Stereo.
Mr Dolby held 50 US patents and won a number of notable awards for his life's work, including several Emmys, two Oscars and a Grammy.
He was also awarded the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the US and the Royal Academy of Engineers in the UK.
Kevin Yeaman, president and CEO of Dolby Laboratories, said Mr Dolby invented an entire industry around being able to deliver a sound experience.
"Today we lost a friend, mentor and true visionary," he added.
Many of Mr Dolby's co-workers described him as inspiring and thoughtful man, who cared passionately about engineering.
"To be an inventor, you have to be willing to live with a sense of uncertainty, to work in the darkness and grope toward an answer, to put up with the anxiety about whether there is an answer," Mr Dolby once said.
He is survived by his wife Dagmar, sons Tom and David, and four grandchildren.