The champion of Novell, Netware and networking in general, Ray Noorda, has died at his home in Utah after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 82.

Noorda led Novell as CEO from 1983 to 1995 and was a leader in the world of computer networking. At Novell, he was behind the company's Netware networking software and with it helped to turn the company into a major player in the IT industry.

Noorda was widely recognised as the "Father of Network Computing" for his vision of what technology would do to tie together business computing around the world. "Ray was one of the innovators of the Utah Miracle," Utah's Govenor, Jon M. Huntsman Jr. said in a statement. "He launched what would become Utah's technology sector. He has left behind a monumental legacy and we are all in his debt. He will be deeply missed."

Drew Major, a co-founder of Novell, said Noorda was "a great mentor to all of his employees and gave us all opportunities to grow. With his integrity, he built a trust and a bond in the early Novell years that empowered us together to go out and change the world. Not only was he respected and appreciated by those who partnered with him but also by those who competed against him. Ray Noorda left a legacy of connecting computers and people and companies together."

Noorda earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Utah in 1949, then began working as an electrical engineer with General Electric. After 21 years with GE, he eventually ended up as the CEO at Novell. Under his leadership, the company grew from just 17 employees to more than 12,000.

Noorda was an active philanthropist through his church and other charitable organisations. He founded two groups, Angel Partners and the Worth of a Soul Foundation, to help with his family's charitable efforts.