Today I was going to post something cheeky, odd, and perhaps a little nonsensical. However, at the time of my writing this I heard something that shook me harder than I would have imagined. So, if all of you don’t mind, I’m going to give a moment of silence and reflection in remembrance of a young but extraordinary visionary who passed away early this week.
Monty Oum, director, writer, and animator extraordinaire, died this past Sunday, February 1st, 2015. He was 33 years old.
According the official post from Rooster Teeth, the animation company he worked for, “Monty Oum passed away [Sunday] afternoon at 4:34 PM surrounded by people who loved him very much. Ten days ago Monty suffered a severe allergic reaction during a simple medical procedure that left him in a coma. Although he fought bravely, his body was not able to recover. During his time in the hospital he was well cared for and never in pain at any time.”
For those who have not heard of him or didn’t follow his career, Monty Oum was an animator of rare and extraordinary talent. One of the things Oum was known best for early in his career was a video called “Haloid,” a mash-up of the video game franchises Halo and Metroid that left many fans of both franchises drooling at the prospect. Haloid was, to put it bluntly, a video game fan’s dream and came with incredible action, impressive visuals, and a twist at the end that left many speechless before they rose up in a standing ovation.
As time went on, Oum’s skill only grew, as did his well-earned acclaim. He brought the world several other stunning videos, including the beloved Dead Fantasy series, seasons 8-10 of Red vs. Blue, and the combat system and cinematics for the Afro Samurai video game for PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. His most recent and perhaps most impressive achievement was the project he was working on at the time of his passing, RWBY, a glorious marriage of fantasy storytelling, video game-style combat, and the rustic grit of Grimm’s fairy tales. It had the potential to be his greatest work, and the writer in me silently weeps that it will never see completion under his guiding hand.
I can’t claim to have known Monty, nor did I ever meet him, but he was an inspiration to me for many years as a cinema lover, gamer, as well as an artist and storyteller struggling to find his path in the world. During his time among us he gifted the artistic community with brilliance, inspiration, and more hope than I think he ever realized.
His passing will continue to be felt in the online community, but my sympathy and deepest condolences go out to the friends and family he was forced to leave behind, foremost among them his wife Sheena, his father Mony, his brothers Woody, Sey, Chivy and Neat, and his sisters Thea and Theary.
Goodbye, Monty. You were and will continue to be an inspiration and you are already sorely missed.