E. Gary Gygax, the father of Dungeons and Dragons, died yesterday at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  His health had been declining for some time.  He was 69.

Gygax and co-founder Dave Arneson developed the legendary role-playing system in 1974.  The game is part of the popular lexicon, spinning off (and inspiring) games, books, comics and movies.  Gygax had not been directly involved with official D&D since 1985, but he continued to publish adventures and supplements through Troll Lord Games that could be used with the system.  Dungeons and Dragons Online, the MMORPG spinoff of the game, just celebrated its two-year anniversary; Gygax provided some of the narrative voicework, putting what many gamers felt was the official stamp of approval on the system.
  He was the face of D&D, appearing as himself in pop culture hits such as Futurama, and his name was synonymous with the game in the hearts of players everywhere.

His wife Gail 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.  He really enjoyed that."  As recently as January, Gygax hosted weekly games at their home.

In addition to his wife, Gygax is survived by six children.  No funeral arrangements have been announced yet.

(Sources: Wired News, WKBT NewsMinneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune)