Grateful Dead's John Perry Barlow Dies

Grateful Dead's John Perry Barlow Dies

Influential internet rights pioneer John Perry Barlow has died, aged 70. A possible cause of death was not immediately available, but Barlow had been hospitalized periodically after suffering a heart attack in 2015.

String Cheese Incident (SCI) songwriter John Perry Barlow (R) speaks during a news conference which addressed the Colorado band's lawsuit recently filed against Ticketmaster August 11, 2003 in New York City.

"He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance", EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn, said in the organisations' blog.

Barlow was a seminal child of the 1960s who took LSD with Timothy Leary, wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead, and eventually became an internet activist in the 1980s and 90s. With keyboardist Brent Mydland, Barlow wrote "Blow Away" and "We Can Run".

It's a soaring document that's worth reading in its entirety, and was praised by many people who were just getting online in the early 90s with the emergence of the world wide web.

Barlow was born in Sublette County, Wyoming, the son of Miriam and Norman Barlow, a Republican state legislator.

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Barlow was also an advocate for civil liberties.

Barlow moved to CT to attend Wesleyan University, majored in comparative religion, graduated in 1969, traveled and lived in India before returning to the U.S.in 1970. The Grateful Dead connection led him to early prominence on the WELL community (short for "Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link"), credited as one of the first online social networks.

"John had a way of taking life's most hard things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures", Weir said in an online post Wednesday. "You have no sovereignty where we gather", he wrote. The school describes him as a "retired Wyoming cattlerancher" and a father of three daughters-Leah Justine, Anna Winter and Amelia.

Barlow, an emeritus fellow of the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University, was also a founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation in San Francisco, which promotes adversarial reporting and internet advocacy.

A memoir, Mother American Night: My Life in Crazy Times, which Barlow wrote with Robert Greenfield, is to be published this year.

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