WASHINGTON: Ray Tomlinson, the US programmer credited with inventing email in the 1970s and choosing the “@” symbol for the messaging system, died Saturday at the age of 74, his employer said Sunday. The cause of his death was not yet confirmed. “A true technology pioneer, Ray was the man who brought us email in the early days of networked computers,” his employer, the defense contractor and electronics giant Raytheon, said in a statement. Tomlinson invented direct electronic messages in 1971. Before his invention, users could only write messages to others on a limited network.