In brief: Sad news out of the gaming community this week as we've learned that Brad McQuaid, the lead developer and designer of EverQuest, died on Monday. He was only 51.

Details of his death have not been shared publicly although it was reported that he died in his home on the evening of November 18.

McQuaid got his start in the video game industry in 1989 and worked on a couple of shareware / demo projects over the next several years. His big break came in 1996 when he was hired by John Smedley of Sony Interactive Studios America to work on an online role-playing title.

That game would eventually become EverQuest and it was a smash hit. After just a few months on the market, it became the top MMORPG based on subscriber numbers, besting Ultima Online for the distinction.

McQuaid would eventually leave Sony to create his own studio, Sigil Games, in 2002, only to sell the studio to Sony in 2007. It turned out one game, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. His most recent project, an MMORPG called Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, was being developed by Visionary Realms. The fate of that project is unknown although considering how long it has been in development, one would suspect it has to be nearly finished by this point.

The official Twitter account for Pantheon shared news of his passing on November 19.