The online video industry has seen such exceptional growth over the past few years that it’s hard to remember it’s only in its adolescence. And because it’s only in its adolescence, we have celebrated many triumphs and successes, but not a lot of loss.
On Sunday, March 25th, Edward Gould, the creator of the YouTube channel Eddsworld, passed away from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Edward had almost 400,000 passionate subscribers and was a cult YouTube and Newgrounds celebrity. He is going to be dearly missed by family, friends, collaborators and viewers.
Gould was best known Eddsworld, an animated show set around three friends in a British town. The program was voiced by Edward and his two friends Matthew Hargreaves and Thomas Ridgewell. A hilarious comedy that launched on YouTube 6 years ago, Edward often appeared on camera to discuss his work. His earnestness immediately resonated with viewers that supported him throughout his battle with cancer.
“He loved what he did and it’s hard to accept that such a talented, young man has passed away,” said Luke Stepleton, who worked with Edward during his time as a Machinima partner. “Edd was one of the first YouTubers who caught my eye. I was a fan and more than anything it saddens me we never got to shake hands.”
Based in the United Kingdom, Edward took Eddsworld from a little known YouTube channel to the most subscribed channel in the UK. In 2009, he was even asked by the organizers of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to create a video for the opening ceremony.
Mashable Executive Editor Adam Ostrow gave this great and/or uncomfortable (depending on your attitude towards death) TED Talk in 2011 about what happens after life is over in a digital world. Ostrow poses question like, “What happens to your virtual personality – all the status updates, comments, social media connections, and YouTube videos – once you die? Could it live on?”
Ostrow has some interesting answers, but in the case of Edward Gould and Eddsworld it seems like the response is at least a tentative, “Yes.” Gould left behind the first half of a two-part installment of Eddsworld that will be completed and uploaded sometime in the near future. But after that, the future of Eddsworld is still undecided.
As the online video industry and YouTube communities expand, it’s important to come together in times of loss to realize that while we are creators and innovators, we’re creators and innovators for a finite amount of time. Rest in peace, Edd. You’ll be missed.