It is hard to underestimate the value John Barlow and the EFF had in shaping the internet as we use it today and the EFF will no doubt continue their activism in regards to supporting an open internet.
"We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF", said a statement by the group's executive director, Cindy Cohn. A cause of death was not named, but NBC reports he was known to have health problems since suffering a heart attack in 2015. Barlow penned the paper as a rebuttal to the recently enacted Communications Decency Act of 1996, which he saw as a threat to the independence of cyberspace.
The staunchly libertarian document demanded governments to avoid interfering in the internet, which he referred to as "the new home of the mind".
He also wrote lyrics for Grateful Dead songs including Black Throated Wind and Blow Away, among others. And we'll leave you with this, from "Cassidy": Fare thee well now, let your life proceed by its own design / Nothing to tell now, let the words be yours, I'm done with mine. You are not welcome among us.
In addition to his work with the EFF, Barlow co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation in 2012, which works to support public interest journalism. "You have no sovereignty where we gather", he wrote.
According to Variety, Reason magazine once called Barlow, who was active on behalf of both Democrats and Republicans, "the Thomas Jefferson of cyberspace".
Born in Wyoming on October 3, 1947, Barlow graduated with a degree in comparative religion from Wesleyan University.
He also served as a Fellow Emeritus at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
He is survived by his three daughters, Amelia, Anna and Leah, with ex-wife Elaine.