James Martin, 79, technology author

SAN JUAN — James Martin, a British philanthropist and technology guru who was once the highest-selling author on books about computers, has died at his private island in Bermuda. He was 79.

Authorities in the British territory said Thursday that an autopsy is pending for Mr. Martin, whose body was found by a kayaker in waters near his home on Agar’s Island.

Mr. Martin was the largest single private donor in the nearly 900-year history of Oxford University, donating more than $150 million to help establish the Oxford Martin School, where researchers study global issues, including the challenges and opportunities facing humanity in the 21st century.


Mr. Martin was a Pulitzer Prize nominee for his 1977 book ‘‘The Wired Society,’’ which Oxford University said contained descriptions about the use of computers and the Internet that is still timely a quarter of a century later. The university also noted that Mr. Martin, who is credited with helping to automate software development, was ranked fourth in Computer World magazine’s most influential people in computer technology.

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Mr. Martin traveled the world to give lectures and wrote more than 100 textbooks and published others, including ‘‘The Meaning of the 21st Century,’’ made into a film narrated by Michael Douglas.

He leaves his wife, Lillian; a daughter; two grandchildren; and four stepchildren.