Gary, and his invention of AD&D, were instrumental in changing my life. He unlocked a world of creativity, in me and many others, and in a twisted way, the introduction of fantasy grounded me in reality.
I was devastated that WOTC took away his enduring legacy of a printed magazine and in partial honor of him, that is why I had created Dragon Roots. I guess I didn't think much of that at the time, but he is a great part of why I made the magazine.
I had e-mailed him for a review of issue zero and didn't get a reply, now I know why. I am deeply saddened by his passing and now just a bit more envious of the ENWorld mods for getting in one last adventure with him.
If anyone finds out information about a funeral, I would like to make a pilgrimage to pay one last bit of homage to the man who changed my life 27 years ago.
Having played for so long and having met him on a few occasions, it is sad news indeed. Our lives have been shaped by him in some way or another whether we realized it or not. His legacies will continue on like the works of Tolkien and other fantasy legends. The ancient Greeks believed you gained immortality through writing and as long as D&D players and players of his other games still toss dice, recounting their characters exploits, he will always be remembered.
It's funny. Gary is a guy I've never met, yet whose departure feels like its left a tremendous hole in my life.
I look back and realize why... Everything I have right now in my life can be attributed to getting started with D&D. I met my wife via RPGs. I met my best friends via RPGs. All of the success I have in my life came in part from the influence that RPGs have had in my life, and that all started with and was fueled by D&D.
My sincere condolences to the Gygax family and friends.
This makes me very sad. But I will not stay that way very long. Because if I know one thing for sure, it's that Gary would much rather we were all gaming. I can think of no greater legacy than to go to my grave knowing that I brought billions of hours of fun and happiness to millions of people all over the world.
I am all the more glad that I got a chance to meet Gary last year at GenCon and even got to game with him. It will always stand out as one of the highlights of my long and joyous gaming career. If you care to read about happier times and get a fun glimpse of the great man, you can find the link in my .sig.