British computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair has died

Sinclair famously created the ZX Spectrum and Sinclair C5

Sir Clive Sinclair, legendary inventor and home computing pioneer, has died today, aged 81, following a long illness.

His daughter, Belinda, told The Guardian that he died at his home on Thursday morning.

“He was a rather amazing person,” said Belinda Sinclair, 57. “Of course, he was so clever and he was always interested in everything. My daughter and her husband are engineers so he’d be chatting engineering with them.”

Although Sir Clive Sinclair invented the pocket calculator, he was undoubtedly best known for the ZX Spectrum – a popular home computer system that launched in the UK in 1982. The Spectrum is often credited with popularising the home computer alongside its rival, the Commodore 64.

Bringing affording computer systems to the UK high street, the ZX Spectrum sold 5 million units worldwide and paved the way for the future of home computing.

After leaving school at 17, Sir Clive Sinclair worked as a technical journalist to raise funds to start his first business – Sinclair Radionics. By the early 1970s, Sinclair had invented a host of pocket calculators, small enough to be held at a time when most calculators were the size of an old shop till.

“He wanted to make things small and cheap so people could access them,” his daughter explained.

By the 1980s, “Sinclair” became a household name. After creating several early ZX computers, Sinclair eventually created the ZX Spectrum, which went on sale in 1982. The sleek design and affordability made it an instant hit.

Soon, the ZX Spectrum began sporting a whole line of colour games – classics such as Jet Set Willy, Chuckie Egg, and Manic Miner were soon followed by more complex titles. Chase HQ, Bubble Bobble and various Dizzy games soon debuted on the ZX Spectrum.

The ZX Spectrum had cemented its place in gaming history, and its creator, Sir Clive Sinclair, along with it.

Sir Clive Sinclair is survived by his daughter, Belinda, and his sons, Crispin and Bartholomew (Aged 55 and 52) and his five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.