Diaspora co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy dies at 22

Daniel McCall

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, co-founder of social networking site Diaspora, has died at the age of 22, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

The company made no mention in its statement as to the cause of Zhitomirskiy's death, but according to a report by ABC News, San Francisco police are looking into suicide as a possible cause of death.

Officer Albie Esparza of the San Francisco Police Department told ABC News that they received the call on Saturday night. Since then, the case has been referred to San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office. Results shedding more light on Zhitomirskiy's death should be in by a couple of days, she said.

“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.”

Diaspora, an open-source social networking site that aims to go after Facebook, got its start after raising $200,000 through the fundraising site Kickstarter. Its goal is to provide an "inherently" private social networking alternative to Facebook for those concerned about security.

In 2010, Zhitomirskiy and his fellow co-founders described their vision for Diaspora in a video posted to Vimeo. “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,” Zhitomirskiy said.

For more information on Diaspora, check out this link.

[Image from Ilya Zhitomirskiy memorial site, Respectance.com