Monty Oum, director of animation for online-video pioneer Rooster Teeth and creator of the hit online series RWBY, died Sunday. He was 33. Austin-based Rooster Teeth said in a blog post that Oum had suffered a severe allergic reaction during a routine medical procedure last month that left him in a coma.
Oum created and directed the award-winning web series RWBY and was lead animator in Seasons 8 through 10 of Rooster Teeth’s durable online-video series Red Vs. Blue.
He also was a big presence on social media, with 146,000 followers on Twitter, 12,000 on Vine and 117,000 on Facebook. He had 60,000 YouTube subscribers.
News of his death spread quickly across the online-video world and social media, spawning a series of tributes and memorials on YouTube and elsewhere. On Twitter, many reposted some of his previous posts, including: “RT @montyoum: Guys… Life… it’s pretty awesome. Just keep at it. And I’ll keep going too.” and the painfully prescient “RT @montyoum: Reminder that we should cherish those close to us and not wait til they’re gone to appreciate them.”
On DeviantArt.com, where Oum had been been a member for 11 years, sharing his art concepts for characters such as the recent post he left here, dozens of people left RIP comments in his memory, mentioning how much his work had affected them.
Oum began his animation career by creating Haloid, a showdown between characters from the video games franchises Halo and Metroid. That led to a job as a combat designer at Midway Games. After a stint at Namco Bandai Games, where he worked on the vidgame Afro Samurai, Oum joined Internet production house Rooster Teeth as character animator and choreographer. In 2012, he created, directed and was lead animator for RWBY. Last year, the show won Streamy and International Academy of Web Television awards for best animated series.
Oum once wrote in a Facebook post, “Fun fact: I try to make sure all my characters are designed with pockets/pouches so cosplayers will have places to put their phones/wallets.”
Rooster Teeth posted, “As for honoring Monty…in lieu of flowers or gifts, we ask that you simply do something creative.”
Watch a compilation of Oum’s podcast appearances in the video post at the top of the page.