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Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse with his golden retriever Basil Hayden. (Stepto.com Photo)

Stephen Toulouse, a former longtime Microsoft employee who became known to gamers around the world as the tough but good-natured Xbox Live director of policy and enforcement, has died at the age of 45, according to a tweet overnight from his brother, Jeff Toulouse.

Toulouse is being remembered across the gaming and tech communities for his impact on the industry and early leadership combatting online harassment. His mantra: “Be excellent to each other.”

“Stepto,” as he was known, was one of the true characters of the Seattle region’s tech community, keeping his sense of humor even in high-stress roles such as speaking on behalf of Microsoft’s security initiatives. I was fortunate to get to know him during his time at Microsoft, interviewing him for stories and meeting up for coffee. He worked most recently as a senior security advisor to Electronic Arts.

Here’s a video of a Stepto reading from the “Xbox Live Book of Enforcement” in 2010.

He lived most recently on the Olympic Peninsula near Kingston, Wash., according to his website. No cause of death has been made public. His most recent post on his site was last week, Oct. 21. He had survived an extreme health scare in 2015, when he pulled out of a coma.

RIP, Stepto. We’ll update this post as we learn more about services or remembrances.

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