Milwaukee — Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and is widely seen as the father of the role-playing games, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.
He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.
Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.
Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in popularity.
Born Ernest Gary Gygax, he grew up in Chicago and moved to Lake Geneva at the age of 8.
Gygax was working as an insurance underwriter in the 1960s, when he began playing war-themed board games.
But Gygax wanted to create a game that involved more fantasy.
To free up time to work on that, he left the insurance business and became a shoe repairman, his wife said.