Professor Rajeev Motwani, a Stanford professor who inspired the co-founders of Google and influenced a generation of computer scientists, died at his Calif., home on Friday.

Motwani, 47, apparently drowned Friday in a backyard pool, the San Jose Mercury News reported Sunday. Atherton police Sunday said they are waiting for an autopsy before investigating the apparent, accidental drowning.

Friends told the newspaper that Motwani could not swim. They say he may have slipped and fallen into the pool.

Motwani was a well-known and beloved figure in the Silicon Valley community of high-tech companies and workers, where he was described as a kindly academic who was never too busy to mentor Stanford graduate students and officers of start-up companies -- including one started by former student Sergey Brin, founder of Google Inc.

It's a rare combination to have somebody who is so smart and also such a nice guy, Brin wrote Saturday on his personal blog, adding that Motwani had a lot of interest in computer science theory. He's primarily a theoretician, and it's incredible the amount of impact he has had directly on products and companies.