"The Analog Guy," David Fletcher passes away at the age of 81.

Founder of Sumiko and co founder of SOTA has passed.
He had a very colorful career which you can read about here.
He created the first bomb proof turntable and was the first to incorporate vacuum clamping in a turntable.
He designed many cartridges for Sumiko. Both Sumiko and Sota survive today. Good show! RIP. 
Dear @mijostyn : Thank's to posted. 

D.Fletcher as other memorable gentlemans is a true lost for the audio industry.

I own/owned The Arm and one of his premier tonearms, I still own 2-3 of his MC cartridge designs ( truly good performers. ) and listened several times Sota TTs even at my place.

Rest in peace and best feelings for his family.

My old Sapphire still turns, almost 40 years on. I remember watching it shake while a good-sized quake rumbled through the San Fernando Valley.  Yeah, there was no shortage of wow from the orchestra's string section as the temblor tembled, but the tonearm and cartridge never deviated from their chosen paths.  No mistracking, either. 
Very sorry to hear this news!  My Sapphire was made when he was still in charge and has satisfied me ever since.  Guess we're all getting older...
Yes, he was a pioneer in many ways. He had golden ears, could hear system issues, phase issues within seconds of listening to an unknown system. The Sota turntable and Sumiko MDC800 were seminal products.

The earlier Sumiko moving coil cartridges were Sony Soundtech designs - they developed the figure 8 coil layout, microridge styli, amongst other that was later adopted by Van den Hul and Benz. David selected them and rebadged them for markets outside of Japan.

His real strength was his ability to pick out great designs and products from the morass of mediocre.