Francis Tsai works on a piece of digital art in his Austin home in 2013. Photo by Ralph Barrera / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A piece of art created by Francis Tsai before his ALS diagnosis. Credit: Marvel, contributed by Francis Tsai

Digital artist Francis Tsai, who for the last years of his life used eye-tracking technology he helped refine to continue creating his science fiction-themed artwork, has died. Tsai, who lived in Austin, was the subject of a lengthy 2013 profile in the American-Statesman that detailed the way he used a tablet and bleeding-edge software to continue his work despite the loss of movement in nearly his entire body from ALS.

News spread of his death Thursday on social media and on Thursday night, his wife Linda posted on his official Facebook page:

As many of you have heard, Francis passed away this morning. This is all pretty new and I’m still a little in shock. Suddenly there is a big hole in my life. Francis was my soul mate. I loved him for his integrity, his (somewhat warped) sense of humor and his artistic drive. I will miss him like crazy. Please post your stories, memories and reflections on Francis here and help keep him alive in our hearts.

After the Statesman story ran, Francis Tsai continued to post artworks-in-progress and to keep up an active social media presence, communicating online with fans and friends. In recent months, Francis posted on Facebook that he was having increased difficulty typing and working on his artwork. However, true to his geek roots, he continued to post about advances in science that could help those with ALS and about upcoming movies such as “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.” “I know its just a movie, but… I cried,” he posted two weeks ago on Facebook.

We’ll continue updating this post with more information as it becomes available.

Click here to sign the guest book for Francis TsaiClick here to see a photo gallery of Francis Tsai's artwork