Syd Mead, the legendary conceptual artist and sci-fi futurist known as the designer behind iconic cinematic images from sci-fi films such as Blade Runner and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, passed away on December 30 at the age of 86.
Mead’s death was first announced on Facebook by Autoline’s John McElroy, who interviewed Mead on his podcast.
“He was one of the greatest designers and futurists of our times. Syd Mead passed away this morning. His work and influence will outlive him forever.”
The Syd Mead Official Fan Club on Facebook also announced his death. The cause of death was not revealed.
Since McElroy broke the news of Mead’s passing, people have been paying tribute on Twitter and sharing examples of his work.
A legend has left us today.
His vision changed our culture, our collective perception of what is possible, and inspired so many of us today.
With a heavy and saddened heart, I say, R.I.P Syd Mead. pic.twitter.com/MnDT8ZuFia
— Karla Ortiz (@kortizart) December 30, 2019
Syd Mead was a world builder the likes of which cinema had never seen, and probably won't see again. Such a pleasure to interview him for my BLADE RUNNER and ALIENS docs, and I'll forever be inspired by his visionary art. Condolences to Roger, Syd's family, friends and many fans. https://t.co/YNZOSxL2xJ
— Charles de Lauzirika (@Lauzirika) December 30, 2019
RIP Syd Mead. One of the greatest visionaries we've ever been blessed with. Whole parts of the present are the manifestations of things he was the first to see, untold vastness that he has gifted us remains there for the realisation. Entire worlds. pic.twitter.com/9KBt4bdGCE
— ཊལབསརངཧ (@David_Rudnick) December 30, 2019
The Great Syd Mead passed away.
Without him, the visual language of science fiction wouldn't have been the same. Here, his vision for the streets of Blade Runner. pic.twitter.com/sDENt67w8z
— Tim Soret (@timsoret) December 30, 2019
Syd Mead has passed away at the age of 86.
He was a designer of several of Turn A Gundam's mobile suits, may he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/bkRuyXxJZL
— Dr. Aria Pokoteng says you're Healin' Good! (@buildknuckle) December 30, 2019
Mead’s death comes after the Art Directors Guild (ADG) announced last month that the legendary concept artist would be honored with the William Cameron Menzies Award during the Guild’s 24th Annual Awards on February 1, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Syd Mead bio
Synd Mead was born on July 18, 1933, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
He went to high school in Colorado Springs and served in the U.S. Army for three years. He graduated from the Art Center School in Los Angeles (currently Art Center College of Design, Pasadena).
He is known as the concept artist behind several major film projects, such as Blade Runner, Aliens, Tron, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Elysium, and Tomorrowland, according to his IMDb page.
He designed the cityscapes in Blade Runner and the future Las Vegas in Blade Runner 2049. The spaceship Leonov and its interiors from the movie 2010, and robot Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, were also his contributions to the films.
He worked as a designer for Ford, Philips Electronics, and U.S. Steel. He also worked on visualizing products for Sony and Chrysler.
He was also widely regarded as a pioneer of cyberpunk.