Home computer pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair has died aged 81

© Bang Showbiz Sir Clive Sinclair in 1987

Sir Clive Sinclair has died aged 81.

The inventor and entrepreneur, who was instrumental in bringing home computers to the masses and was best known for the landmark ZX Spectrum, has passed away at the age of 81 following a long illness.

Clive’s daughter Belinda confirmed the news on Thursday (16.09.21), stating he had died that morning at his home in London.

The illness Clive was facing has not been made public, and his exact cause of death is not yet known.

Clive was best known for popularising the home computer, but he also invented the pocket calculator, and his daughter described him as an “amazing person”.

She told The Guardian newspaper: “He was a rather amazing person. 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.”

Clive left school at the age of 17 and worked for four years as a technical journalist to raise funds to found Sinclair Radionics.

His first home computer, the ZX80, revolutionised the computer market and was priced at £79.95 in kit form and £99.95 assembled.

The computer was considerably cheaper than other models available at the time, and sold 50,000, units before being replaced by its successor, the ZX81, which cost £69.95 and sold 250,000.

In 1982, the technology icon released the ZX Spectrum 48K, which was pivotal in the development of the British games industry, with many much-loved games – including ‘Knight Lore’, ‘Jet Set Willy’, and ‘Chuckie Egg’ – going on to inspire a generation after being developed on the computer.

By 1983, Clive was awarded a knighthood.

The inventor was also known for some of his less successful inventions, including the Sinclair C5, which was a battery-powered electric trike which launched in 1985 and was predicted to be a massive hit before it flopped upon release.

The following year, Clive sold his computer business to Amstrad.

His daughter Belinda, 57, added: “It was the ideas, the challenge, that he found exciting. He’d come up with an idea and say, ‘There’s no point in asking if someone wants it, because they can’t imagine it.’ ”

Clive is survived by Belinda, his sons, Crispin and Bartholomew, aged 55 and 52 respectively, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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