The death of Les Paul today is not going to receive 1/100 of the media attention given to the death of Michael Jackson. But as far as influencing music, I would be hard-pressed to name another figure that had as much as Les Paul. It's inconceivable to imagine what music would sound like today if there had never been a Les Paul.
Perhaps we can surmise that someone at sometime would have invented the electric guitar and multi-tracking, but that's just an assumption. Les Paul did it and it changed the direction of popular music. If I had to name one person responsible for the advent of rock music, that person would be Les Paul.