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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

GEEKS MOURN WORLD WIDE - Dungeons & Dragons Creator Gary Gygax Dead At 69

Dungeons & Dragons Creator Gary Gygax Dead At 69
MILWAUKEE (CBS) ― Gary Gygax, creator of the original Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva, Wis. He was 69.

He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.

Gygax, a writer and game designer, worked with co-author Dave Arneson to write the first version of Dungeons & Dragons in 1974. The game defined the style of sword-and-sorcery role-playing games which evolved through many editions, spin-off products, two feature films, various videogames and an online version.

Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted fans, many of whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55 miles southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining health, he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she said.

"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he gave them," Gail Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."

Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in popularity.

"Gygax is generally acknowledged as the father of the role-playing game," wrote Steve Chenault on the Troll Lord Games Web site, which first reported the news. News of the game designers death was confirmed by Tolena Thorburn, public relations manager for Wizards of the Coast, current publisher of the popular series of D&D games.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is survived by six children.

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