Ilya Zhitomirskiy, a co-founder of the open-source social networking website Diaspora, died at the young age of 22, shocking everyone.

San Francisco Police Department Officer Alvie Esparza told CNNMoney on Sunday that the initial determination of cause of death appeared to be suicide.

According to an authority, Ilya Zhitomirskiy was found dead shortly after 8 pm on Saturday in the 700 block of Treat Avenue, San Francisco.

The case was referred to the medical examiner's office of San Francisco. The official cause of death will be known after the coroner conduct the testing.

However, the testing process could take “weeks and weeks”, according to a representative from the San Francisco Coroner's Office.

One of the possible reasons for Zhitomirskiy’s suicide could be the high pressure he suffered.

Burnout is one thing but serious depression is another altogether. The pressure of starting a small local business is enough to drive a person mad. Just think about the guys being covered... the widely known ones, the 'stars' of the tech startup world,” Bill Patrianakos writes on Hacker News.

Diaspora had a great start. Zhitomirskiy and the other founders raised more than $200,000 in Kickstarter website. However, soon after the first burst, Diaspora got into trouble in its finance and stopped operating. The obscurity of Diaspora caused a severe criticism from tech insiders. The failure of the project may have had a huge impact on Zhitomirskiy and brought on deep depression to him.

Diaspora is a non-profit, user-owned, distributed social network that is based upon the free Diaspora software. The project was founded in 2010 by Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Dan Grippi, Max Salzberg and Raphael Sofaer. The founders are students at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

Leading Diaspora to become a vigorous competitor of Facebook, Ilya Zhitomirskiy et al have been well-known in the tech startup world. Compared to Facebook and Google+, Diaspora allows the use of pseudonyms, which has been specifically noted by US National Public Radio.

Actually, the social network is not owned by any one person or entity, keeping it safe from corporate take-overs, advertising and other threats. Diaspora promised to give users ultimate control of their privacy as the developers stated in September 2011, Our distributed design means no big corporation will ever control Diaspora. Diaspora will never sell your social life to advertisers, and you won’t have to conform to someone’s arbitrary rules or look over your shoulder before you speak.

In remembrance of Ilya Zhitomirskiy, the Diaspora website posted a picture of a dandelion and the words: “Ilya Zhitomirskiy 1989-2011”.

In addition, a memorial site has been set up at Respectance.com. One visitor there wrote, “I'll never forget the way you would wander into my dormroom with that lazy grin on your face, rambling on about robots and things too complicated for me to understand. RIP Ilya.”

“There’s something deeper than making money off stuff. Being a part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome,” Zhitomirskiy said previously.