A few weeks ago I shared a post on Supermoms. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating officer of Facebook, ranked right up there as one of my favorite supermoms, even if I did feel that she was kind of out of touch with what average working moms go through on a regular basis.
While on vacation in Mexico, Sheryl’s husband Dave died on Friday, May 1, 2015. Prior to the official cause of death being released, Fortune cited sources that say that Dave died after collapsing in the gym of their hotel, leading to speculation around a heart attack, while Gawker reported that he had fallen off of a treadmill in the hotel’s gym. The official cause of death was listed as head trauma and loss of blood. Sheryl flew home immediately after his death, and has not made a public statement. A private ceremony is planned for Tuesday.
Despite Dave’s nickname of “Mr. Sheryl Sandberg,” Dave is successful in his own right. He was CEO of Survey Monkey until his unexpected death. He graduated from Harvard and worked for Capitol Records before starting Launch Media, which led to his time at Yahoo! After leaving Yahoo! amid frustrations and not a little bit of questioning his path in life, he joined Survey Monkey as CEO in 2009. He brought Survey Monkey from a small company with only twelve employees to a world-wide brand, with over five hundred employees and over fourteen million users and sixty five million monthly visits.
He met Sheryl in 1996, but the two didn’t start dating until 2002. They married in 2004 and have two children. They have publicly stated that their marriage was a shared earning/shared parenting marriage, in which everything is split 50/50, and, although Sheryl has said in interviews that her marriage is rarely 50/50, Dave has been tremendously supportive of her, her position at Facebook, and her goals as a woman and a mother. Their marriage was talked about frequently in her book, Lean In.
Remembrances on Dave’s Facebook page, and his brother Robert’s original post announcing his death, mention Dave’s kindness, his wit, and his generous spirit. He is well remembered among his colleagues and those who work within Silicon Valley. His loss is also felt deeply by staffers at Facebook, with even Mark Zuckerberg commenting publicly on how much Dave will be missed. It seems he deeply touched those in his life.
My condolences go out to Sheryl Sandberg and her children. I can’t imagine what they must be going through right now, and I hope that they find peace. I’m sure that the next several weeks will be difficult for her and her family as they try to recover from the loss of their husband and father. An unexpected loss is never easy, and the thought of two children growing up without their father almost brings me to tears.