He has been called the father of modern computer science. He broke the Nazi's Enigma code. Winston Churchill said it was the greatest single contribution to the Allied war effort.
But a few years later his own government gave him a choice: be chemically castrated or go to prison. Just because he was gay.
So he committed suicide by biting on an apple laced with cyanide.
His name was Alan Turing and today, fifty-five years after his miserable lonely death, he finally got his apology.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized Friday for the "inhumane" treatment of Second World War code-breaker Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency for being homosexual at a time when it was illegal in Britain.
"The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely .… We're sorry, you deserved so much better..."
Oh boy. Did he ever. Because the way they treated that gentle gay genius was absolutely shameful.
The London-born mathematician was convicted of 'gross indecency with a male' in March 1952. Instead of prison, he was sentenced to chemical castration - injections of the female hormone oestrogen, designed to suppress his homosexuality.
The injections destroyed Turing's athletic frame (he would have run the marathon for Britain at the 1948 London Olympics if it hadn't been for an injury) and turned him into a bloated monster.
In the words of one of his biographers, it also set the diffident genius on a 'slow, sad descent into grief and madness'.
First they took away the job he loved so much. Then they stripped him of his dignity and called him a criminal. Then they ruined his body so he could never run or love again.Then they broke his brilliant mind.
Just because he was gay. And even though he helped save them from the Nazis. Can you believe that?
And what about all the other gay people.... in Britain or Canada...who had their careers ruined and their lives destroyed by homophobia? Who will apologize for what was done to them?
Right. Who will apologize for what they're STILL doing to us?
Oh well. There is one neat thing about today's apology. It was prompted by an internet petition.
You know.... on the machine Alan Turing helped dream up.
I think he'd enjoy that one. Rest in peace gentle gay genius.
They could NEVER apologize enough....