British inventor Clive Sinclair, whose passion for technology made him a fortune and earned him a knighthood in the 1980s, has died following a long illness, his daughter Belinda told The Guardian daily and later the BBC on Thursday.
Sinclair was born in 1940 and started building gadgets as a child. He left school at 17 and worked as a technical journalist before starting his own company in 1961. In 1972, he launched a series of groundbreaking pocket calculators. The gadgets were a financial success and gathered praise for what was, at the time, a sleek, cutting-edge design.
But the inventor's personal golden age arrived in the early 1980s. Sinclair's home computer the ZX80 was designed to be cheap and accessible. Launched in 1980, it was also sold in kit form for customers who wanted to put the device together themselves. It was followed up by ZX81 and then ZX Spectrum 48K in 1982. The series rivaled the better known Commodore 64 in the early video game market.
Similar to other computer pioneers such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Sinclair played a key role in bringing personal computers to people's homes. The computer boom also made him a millionaire.