Born Gabriel Gray, Sylar was raised as a watchmaker like his father, but always yearned for more in life, believing that he was 'special' and should amount to much more than a simple watchmaker. He met Chandra Suresh, an evolutionist who suggested that Sylar may be an evolved human with superhuman powers. After tests came up with nothing definite, Sylar became frustrated and stole a look at Suresh's list of possible candidates, choosing to visit one of them, Brian Davis. Upon arriving, he realized that he had the ability of intuitive aptitude, and murdered Davis for his telekinetic powers, which he was able to glean via the ingestion of the other man's brain. He continued in this fashion, murdering those he came across for their powers, and eventually gaining the powers of photographic memory, liquification, cryokinesis (control of ice and water), enhanced hearing, precognition through painting, and radiation manipulation.