The artist Don Ivan Punchatz, whose artwork on id Software's Doom helped establish the game's hardcore reputation and appeal, has died of a heart attack. He was 73.

Punchatz who also illustrated for top-flight publications such as National Geographic, TIME and Playboy, suffered a heart attack on Oct. 11 and never regained consciousness. After two weeks of treatment and tests, doctors advised there was no hope of recovery, and Punchatz's family removed him from life support.


"He never wanted to be kept alive like this," Greg Punchatz, Don's son, said to SpectrumFantasticArt, "so we are respecting his wishes."

Punchatz's iconic Doom box was just a small piece of his overall portfolio of work, which brought acclaim from luminaries such as the author Ray Bradbury. Spectrum Fantastic Art reports that Punchatz had already cut his fee to help id Software meet its budget. Id counterproposed that Punchatz accept a percentage of Doom's profits instead, but Punchatz stuck with his fee. "So how was I to know this thing called Doom would make a jillion smackers?" he laughed later.

Don Ivan Punchatz (1936-2009) [Spectrum Fantastic Art via]

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