Diaspora™ Co-Founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy is Dead

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, the 22-year-old young entrepreneur, is dead . He was one of the co-founders of Diaspora, an open source social networking platform based in New York.

According to Police reports, there was a phone call about a possible suicide at 700 block of Treat Avenue in San Francisco around 8:10 pm on Saturday. The case is being referred to the medical examiner office, and it might take several weeks before the reports come out.

Zhitomirskiy, a drop out of New York University founded Diaspora with three others in a computer lab of New York University.

It was pitched as an anti-Facebook platform where according to Zhitomirskiy himself, “No longer will you be at the whims of those large corporate networks, who want to tell you that sharing and privacy are mutually exclusive.”

From the beginning itself, Zhitomirskiy was working on strategies to bring in facebook users to use Diaspora. To launch Diaspora, in November 2010, the four founders raised more than US$ 200,000 for the project through an online fundraising system named Kickstarter. Last month, it was posted on their blog that more funds are required.

Though it is supposed to be anti-Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is a supporter of Diaspora and has contributed funds to it. Zuckerberg told Wired.com that, “I think it is cool people are trying to do it. I see a little of myself in them.”

According to Zhitomirskiy, he did not set to make money by creating this new venture, for him it was more important being part of creating stuff for the universe.

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

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