John Perry Barlow, the cantankerous poet, lyricist for the Grateful Dead and fighter for a free and open internet, died overnight at age 70, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which he co-founded in 1990, confirmed Wednesday.
To music lovers, Barlow, who met Grateful Dead co-founder and guitarist Bob Weir in high school in Colorado, was known as the man behind the words on such Dead anthems as "Cassidy" "Estimated Prophet," "Black-Throated Wind," "Hell in a Bucket," "Mexicali Blues," "The Music Never Stopped" and "Throwing Stones."
"It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow's vision and leadership," Cindy Cohn, the EFF's executive director, said in a statement Wednesday.
"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."
News of Barlow's death sparked an outpouring of emotion on his Facebook page from artists and technology types alike.
"I always liked to tell you that my favorite place in the world was anywhere within earshot of you," wrote Mikey Lee , an early Facebook employee and former deputy director of the Obama for America PAC.
"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind," it opens.
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