Diaspora Co-Founder Zhitomirskiy's Death: Suicide Note, Circumstances Shrouded in Mystery

 @AmruthaGayathri
on November 15 2011 1:23 AM

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, co-founder of open source social networking site Diaspora, was found dead at his home in San Francisco over the weekend. The San Francisco Police Department confirmed Monday its initial report describing the death as a suicide.

In this case it appears to be a suicide, Officer Alvie Esparza told CNN. However, the medical examiner's office will make the final decision.

The police received phone calls on Saturday evening, to which they responded immediately, reaching 700 Treat Ave. at 8:10 p.m.

Further details about the death have yet to be revealed, as local media outlets were requested, by people close to Zhitomirskiy, to refrain from reporting news provided by local sources.

Technology news site Oobly.com wrote that it was deleting a report which said Zhitomirskiy had been planning to end his life and had left a detailed suicide note.

In respecting the requests of someone close to Ilya Zhitomirskiy, I have deleted everything that my source told me about the cause of Ilya's death and the manner in which he was discovered, an evening update stated.

But local Web sites have provided a few insights into the tragic incident. One of these reports suggested that Zhitomirskiy's mother, who had not heard from her son in three days, contacted his roommate, who then broke down his bedroom door to find Zhitomirskiy dead.

Ilya was a great guy. He was a visionary, he was co-founder of a company that hopes to bring a better social networking experience and we are all very sad he is gone. It is a huge loss for all of us, including his family, said Peter Schurman, a spokesman for Diaspora.

Zhitomirskiy was born in the Soviet Union on Oct. 12, 1989, and immigrated to the U.S. while still a young boy, to settle outside of Philadelphia. He met the three friends with whom he co-founded Diaspora, an alternative to Facebook, while he was studying computer science at New York University.

Video: Interview of Ilya Zhitomirskiy in October 2010

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