Husband of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg dies suddenly

David Goldberg, SurveyMonkey CEO and successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, was 47

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

David Goldberg, husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died May 1, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)
David Goldberg, husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, died May 1, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube)

David Goldberg, husband of Facebook COO and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg, died suddenly Friday night, aged 47. A successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur in his own right, Goldberg was CEO of SurveyMonkey, an online survey company.

Goldberg’s death was announced on Facebook early Saturday morning by his brother Robert Goldberg.

“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,” he wrote.

“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…”

It’s with incredible shock and sadness that I’m letting our friends and family know that my amazing brother, Dave…

Posted by Robert Goldberg on Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tech columnist Kara Swisher also reported Goldberg’s death on her Re/Code blog, writing that the news had been confirmed by individuals close to his family. Swisher, who called Goldberg, “one of Silicon Valley’s most high-profile, well-regarded and well-liked entrepreneurs,” said the death was due to undetermined causes.

Just two weeks ago Goldberg, who lived with Sandberg and their children in Atherton, California, was profiled in a Business Insider article titled, “How ditching law school and quitting a bunch of good jobs led Dave Goldberg to tech fame and fortune.”

“By any measure, Goldberg has a fantastic life. And it’s easy to see why: he’s smart, witty, but laid-back, the kind of guy that can swap funny stories one minute and argue economics the next with a waterfall of top-of-head facts,” the article stated.

The article traced his rise to success from his upbringing in Minneapolis through to his developing SurveyMonkey into a Silicon Valley success. Along the way, Goldberg received an undergraduate degree in history and government from Harvard and worked two years for Bain & Company as a consultant in San Francisco, Sydney and Boston.

Deciding not to go to law school as he had originally planned, Goldberg took a job with Capitol Records in Los Angeles, in which he convincing the company to sell its Beatles catalog on CD and sold music to be used with video games when they started to be distributed on CD-ROMs instead of cartridges. He also introduced the sale of music CDs at Starbucks stores, a practice that only recently ended after 22 years.

In 1993, Goldberg and a partner started Launch Media, a venture that introduced people to new music. The business started out as a music magazine on CD-ROMs and eventually moved to online streaming. Launch media was bought by Yahoo in 2006, and Goldberg moved with his company to Yahoo, where he stayed for six years.

In 2008, Goldberg joined SurveyMonkey. Under his stewardship, the company expanded and was reportedly valued at close to $2 billion in 2014.

In his announcement, Robert Goldberg asked the public to respect the privacy of Sheryl Sandberg and her children at this time. He also requested that in lieu of donations, the family would appreciate people’s posting their memories and pictures of David Goldberg to his Facebook page.

“We want his children to learn how much he meant to all of you,” he wrote.

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