Bob Lambert Dies, Ex-Disney Exec Was Just 55

Digital pioneer and former Disney executive Bob Lambert died of undisclosed causes on Friday at age 55.

The highly respected media trailblazer died in Glendale, California.

It was Lambert who played a pivotal role in the development of animated films through computer features, which led to digital cinema exhibition. He served as senior executive in various departments at Walt Disney Co. for 25 years where he helped the studio enter the digital era.

At Disney, Lambert was responsible for strategic planning, intellectual property, patent strategy, standards and regulatory issues and talent recruitment. He also selected Pixar to design the software and facilitated the two companies' collaboration. Lambert worked at Disney until 2010.

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Bob Lambert," said Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman and CEO at Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in a statement.

"A pioneer for both the creative and tech communities, Bob led us into the transition from celluloid film to digital and forever improved the quality of our films and our movie-watching experience," continued Dodd. "Few in our tech community were more respected or well-liked than Bob. He will be sorely missed by all of his many friends at the MPAA and its member companies."

Lambert went on to co-found Digital Cinema Initiatives where he served as chairman. He acquired 30 patents in media technologies and was deemed an industry pioneer by ShoWest, which is now CinemaCon.

The media mogul was also very involved with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Technology Council where he was a member, as well as at the Society of Motion Pictures & Television Engineers.

Prior to Disney, Lambert served at Paramount Pictures as executive director of development.

On Twitter, many movie enthusiasts and fans are mourning the loss of Lambert.

"We are saddened by the passing of Bob Lambert," wrote Matt Thursman, manager of minority business development at Disney. "A key innovator for digital animation."

"Sad news," Lisa posted on the news of Lambert's death, while Chris added, "Awful news of the loss of digital media pioneer Bob Lambert."

Twitter user Patrick posted, "Bob Lambert, Disney's former VP of Technology, died this weekend of heart attack. He made digital cinema possible. I will miss him. RIP."