Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Public Memorials for Diaspora Co-Founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy to Be Held This Weekend

Diaspora co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy passed away on Saturday night, the team behind the distributed, open source social network acknowledged today.

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, left, and Diaspora co-founder Daniel Grippi

Public memorial services for Zhitomirskiy are planned for this Friday in San Francisco and Sunday in Philadelphia, the company said in an emailed statement.

Sources said the cause of death was suicide, and the San Francisco Police Department indicated as much, but the company declined to comment.

Here’s the statement:

We’re incredibly sad to say that our close friend and co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy has passed away.

Ilya was a great friend and a brilliant person, a visionary whose work for a better future online brought hope to many people.

Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with Ilya’s family as they cope with this incredibly painful loss.

Public memorial services for Ilya are tentatively planned for this Friday November 18th in San Francisco and Sunday in Philadelphia. In life, Ilya brought people together. In death, he would have wanted the same thing.

We’ll post further details soon when final arrangements are made.

We’ll all miss Ilya, more than we can say.

Word of Zhitomirskiy’s death emerged on Sunday.

Diaspora is on the verge of launching publicly a year and a half after Zhitomirskiy and his fellow New York University student co-founders were inundated with $200,000 worth of Kickstarter donations, based on excitement about their concept of a privacy-conscious alternative to Facebook. They had been living and working in San Francisco, with Zhitomirskiy focused on Diaspora’s infrastructure and encryption.

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