The sudden death of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Goldberg, SurveyMonkey CEO and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, rocked the tech world this weekend. Goldberg died while on vacation overseas with Sandberg, who immediately returned to the United States.
It’s unclear if she returned with her husband’s body. There is no information about the disposition or location of the remains. Virtually nothing has been released about the cause of Goldberg’s “unexpected” death, or even which country the couple was visiting when he died. Whether or not he died on a plane, or passed away from natural causes, is unknown. “Natural causes” are not mentioned. Almost no one knew about Goldberg’s death until 12 to 14 hours after he passed away.
Goldberg was only 47 years old, in seemingly good health, and a fountain of energy and good cheer. He had no known history of depression. As can be seen from the Twitter testimonials of other top Silicon Valley figures assembled by Business Insider, Goldberg was regarded as kind, generous, and witty by just about everyone who knew him.
A profile previously assembled by Business Insider and run unedited as tribute outlined Goldberg’s remarkable career, which took him from business consulting to the music world (he’s one of the reasons Starbucks coffee shops began selling CDs of music from offbeat artists) to Yahoo, and ultimately to a small online survey company called SurveyMonkey that he built into a billion-dollar operation with over 500 employees in just a few years.
Goldberg was also famed as half of Silicon Valley’s pre-eminent power couple; his wife, Sheryl Sandberg, is the COO of Facebook. Their marriage featured prominently in Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, making Goldberg a popular interview subject on the topic of balancing career, marriage, and child-rearing. The couple has two children.
Dave’s passing was announced by his brother Robert in a Facebook post on Saturday morning:
It’s with incredible shock and sadness that I’m letting our friends and family know that my amazing brother, Dave Goldberg, beloved husband of Sheryl Sandberg, father of two wonderful children, and son of Paula Goldberg, passed away suddenly last night. In this time of sorrow, we mourn his passing and remember what an amazing husband, father, brother, son and friend he was. No words can express the depth of loss we feel, but we want his children to learn how much he meant to all of you. In lieu of donations, we want to celebrate his life in a manner that respects the family’s privacy as they cope with this tragic, life changing event: Sheryl, their children, and our family would be grateful if people would post their memories and pictures of Dave to his Facebook profile.
“Dave Goldberg was an amazing person, and I’m glad I got to know him,” said Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. “My thoughts and prayers are with Sheryl and her family. I hope friends will join me in celebrating his life by sharing your memories of Dave on his profile, as his brother Rob suggests.”
Dave Goldberg’s Facebook page can be found here.
“Dave’s genius, courage, and leadership where overshadowed only by his compassion, friendship, and heart,” said a statement from his company, SurveyMonkey. “His greatest love was for his family. Our sympathy goes out to them and to all who were touched by this extraordinary man. We are all heartbroken.”
According to the UK Daily Mail, Goldberg and Sandberg flew out of the country to begin their vacation just hours before he passed away; Sandberg was reportedly in Washington, D.C. on Friday morning. The time and circumstances of Goldberg’s death on Friday night have not yet been made public. According to a message Zuckerberg reportedly sent to Facebook employees, Sandberg was back in the United States by Saturday morning, and is grieving privately with her family.