SurveyMonkey’s CEO Died After Exercising in Mexico

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SurveyMonkey.com CEO Dave Goldberg Interview
David "Dave" Goldberg, chief executive officer of SurveyMonkey.com LLC, smiles during a Bloomberg West Television interview in San Francisco, on May 27, 2014. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

SurveyMonkey.com Chief Executive Officer David Goldberg died May 1 after collapsing and hitting the back of his head while exercising during a vacation in Mexico, authorities said.

Goldberg, 47, who was married to Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, was at an independent villa near the Four Seasons Resort in Punta Mita, Mexico, with family and friends at the time. Goldberg suffered head trauma and hypovolemic shock from blood loss after he fell off a treadmill in a gym, according to a statement from the state attorney general’s office in Nayarit. Efforts to revive him at the gym and at nearby San Javier Hospital in Nuevo Vallarta were unsuccessful and Goldberg died at the hospital, the attorney general’s office said.

The death was ruled an accident, according to the state attorney general’s press office.

Goldberg, a well-known Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist, founded Launch Media, an online music site, in 1994, and sold it to Yahoo! Inc. amid the dot-com bust of

2001. Billboard magazine named him one of the top “power players” in digital music in 2006. He joined SurveyMonkey, a Palo Alto, California-based online polling service, in 2009, and helped build it into a company valued at about $2 billion in December.

‘Real Leader’

“David Goldberg embodied the definition of a real leader - - someone who was always looking for ways to empower others,” President Barack Obama said in a post on the White House’s Facebook page. “He was generous and kind with everybody and cared less about the limelight than making sure that the people he worked with and loved succeeded in whatever they did.”

Sandberg, 45, author of the best-selling book “Lean In,” frequently credited Goldberg as a crucial partner in her career. The couple, who have two children, met in 1996 while working in Los Angeles, according to a 2013 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Goldberg’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday.

Goldberg was born on Oct. 2, 1967, in Chicago, to Mel and Paula Goldberg. The family moved to Minneapolis where his mother is co-founder and executive director of the Pacer Center, a Minnesota nonprofit group that assists parents of disabled children and young adults, according to the center’s website. His father was an associate dean and professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

Goldberg graduated from Harvard University in 1989 and lived with Sandberg and their children in Menlo Park, California.

‘Class Act’

Goldberg’s Facebook page has filled with anecdotes and condolences since his death was announced May 2.

“Dave was a class act,” Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co., wrote. “Everything he did was done with enthusiasm, commitment, and a warm and humble touch that we all loved and we will all remember.”

“Dave was one of the truly rare souls -- a good and caring person in a brutal and often callous business world,” wrote David Sze of Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm. “I admired him greatly for his combination of success and humility.”

(An earlier version of this story corrected the location of the accident.)

(Corrects place of birth in eighth paragraph of story published May 5. Correction published Oct. 29.)
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