Seems to be a week for obituaries. Gary Gygax, who with Dave Arneson wrote the groud breaking tabletop role playing game Dungeons & Dragons, has died. The Register has an obituary, as does the New York Times. I spent a lot of time as a youngster playing a variety of role playing games, beginning with D&D. While I eventually moved on to other games (notably Call of Cthulhu) and eventually gave up gaming, I retain a soft spot for D&D, and particularly the original edition of a boxed set of three slim booklets (pictured left, and see the Wikipedia article).
D&D was derived from earlier miniatures war game rules, and was published by Tactical Studies Rules, later known as TSR. The company grew astonishingly rapidly (probably too fast), before being absorbed by Wizards of the Coast, a company that rose on the back of a craze for trading card games.
Gygax was still hosting D&D at his home only a month or so before his death.
Update: There is a nicely written obituary at Ars Technica.