Russian media have announced that Lieutenant General (Ret.) Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, 94, passed away on 23 December after a prolonged illness.
Kalashnikov was a great man, a technical genius, who designed a reliable and cheap gun for the masses, a design which is as important today as it was back in the 1940s. He, along with Eugene stoner, were the most influential and well known firearm designers born in the 20th century.
He will be remembered for a long time. Modern firearms have not been around long enough to gauge exactly how long a great gun designer will remain in the public conciseness. Paul Mauser (Mauser) was born 176 years ago, Harris Holland (Holland & Holland) was born 208 years ago and James Purdy (Purdy) was born 230 years ago. Kalashnikov will be remembered a lot longer than them. None of their guns became a political symbol, finding their way onto currency and national flags. Four months ago the company that he dedicated his life to, Izhmash, was renamed the Kalashnikov Group in his honor.
According to Wikipedia, Kalashnikov is survived by three of his four children. His only son, Victor Kalashnikov, is a prominent gun designer who lead the team that developed the PP-19 Bizon submachine gun.