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THE HAGUE: Tributes rolled in Friday after Dutch engineer Lou Ottens, credited with inventing the audio cassette tape and helping create the compact disc, died at the age of 94. Created by Ottens while working for electrical giant Philips, cassettes made music truly portable for the first time and allowed a generation of music fans to make mix-tapes of their favourite songs.

Versatile if infuriatingly easy to unspool, more than 100 billion cassette tapes were produced worldwide in their heyday from the 1960s to the 1980s and have even enjoyed a recent retro resurgence.

He died on March 6 in the village of Duizel near the Belgian border, Philips said. Born in 1926 in the Dutch city of Bellingwolde, Ottens showed his interest in technology at a young age.

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