Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian inventor of the AK-47 rifle, died Monday after suffering from heart and intestine related problems.
Kalashnikov, 94, died in hospital in Izhevsk, Russia, the city where AK-47s are mass produced.
His creation is one of the most popular and deadly weapons of all time. It is well-known for its simple design, low production cost, ease of use and maintainability.
There are an estimated 100 million AK-47s throughout the world. Roughly half of them are knock-offs used by terrorists and soldiers in developing countries.
Kalashnikov expressed some regret in his later years that his creation was used by terrorists, child soldiers and warlords across the globe.
“I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmer[s] with their work – for example a lawnmower. ” said Kalashnikov according to a Russian Today obituary.
Kalashnikov was born in 1919 to a peasant family. As a child, he and his family were exiled to Siberia during Joseph Stalin’s collectivization campaign.
As an adult, he demonstrated a strong mechanical aptitude. He served as tank commander in the Soviet Army, but was severely wounded during a battle on the Eastern front during WWII.
While in the hospital recovering, Kalashnikov came up with the seed of the idea for the AK-47. He and his engineering team developed the AK-47 prototype in 1945, and had the machine gun ready for testing the following year.
Currently, the Izhevsk regional government is making arrangements for his funeral. No date has been set.
Photo credit: www.kremlin.ru