Pioneering statistician Hans Rosling passes away


  • Author: Statistics Views
  • Date: 08 February 2017
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It has been announced that pioneering statistician Hans Rosling has passed away at the age of 68. Professor Rosling was diagnosed a year ago with pancreatic cancer. He died in Uppsala, Sweden with his family by his side.

Rosling will be remembered for his ebullient, focussed and clear explanations of statistics, bringing numbers to life through outstanding data visualizations that would be understood by all. He was previously a professor of international health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute but left in 2007 to co-found the Gapminder Foundation.

thumbnail image: Pioneering statistician Hans Rosling passes away

The Gapminder Foundation, which Rosling co-founded with his son and daughter-in-law allows users to create their own data visualizations.

With new materials to hand, he became involved in award-winning documentaries, using ground-breaking visualizations to convey his meaning from 'The Joy of Stats' to 'Don't Panic: The Truth About Population'. He gave a now famous Ted talk leaping around the stage, his enthusiasm for statistics contagious. Time magazine named him in its 2012 list of the world’s 100 most influential people. His “stunning renderings of the numbers … have moved millions of people worldwide to see themselves and our planet in new ways”.

The Guardian quotes one of their former journalists, Claire Provost who interviewed Rosling in 2013:“Given the timing, with all the talk about fake news, alternative facts, concern over misinformation and propaganda-by-numbers, Rosling stood for the exact opposite – the idea we can have debates about what could or should be done, but that facts and an open mind are needed before informed discussions can begin.”

This was evident in Rosling's account of the plight of Syrian refugees that Statistics Views reported here. This was the most read news article of 2015 which conveys how well Rosling was able to convey the truth behind statistics and their reality. Significance magazine also interviewed him in 2009 and the interview is free to view here. Sir David Spiegelhalter, President of the Royal Statistical Society described him in a Radio 4 interview today as 'a storyteller with data'.

A light has gone out in the world of statistics but he has inspired many statisticians to come.




Related Topics

Related Publications

Related Content

Site Footer


This website is provided by John Wiley & Sons Limited, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ (Company No: 00641132, VAT No: 376766987)

Published features on are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.