The co-founder of web-based music streaming service Grooveshark, Josh Greenberg, was found dead in his bed on Sunday evening.
His mother, Lori Greenberg, said that Josh was a perfectly healthy 28-year-old and according to the medical examiner’s autopsy no explanation for his death has yet been found. “They are as baffled as I am,” she said.
Greenberg’s death follows a recent fight with the music industry, in which Grooveshark was found guilty of ‘copyright infringement’ and ordered to pay $75 million in damages if they infringed again in the future.
Mayer was away for the weekend and returned to find his body. According to the police report, she last spoke to him at 1:30 a.m. Sunday and called authorities around 7 p.m. after returning home with two friends.
“It looked like he was sleeping,” Lori Greenberg said.
She said her son was more relieved than depressed about the settlement that shut down Grooveshark on April 30 since it ended the lawsuit that had been hanging over his head. Several record companies had sued the online music streaming service over copyright violations.
“He was excited about potential new things that he was going to start,” she said.
Greenberg and Sam Tarantino founded Grooveshark as 19-year-old freshmen at the University of Florida in March 2006. At its peak, the company had up to 40 million users a month and 145 employees, occupying most of the second floor of the Union Street Station in downtown Gainesville and a small office in New York City.
Tarantino could not be reached for comment.
Greenberg was widely regarded as a mentor to budding entrepreneurs and computer programmers, helping people get started in the tech industry through Grooveshark University classes, the Summer with the Sharks internship program and as a partner in the Founders Pad business incubator. He was a founding member of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Gainesville Technology Council.
Duncan Kabinu said Greenberg was working on another music-related mobile application and they spent Friday together working on the Gainesville Dev Academy, which launched this summer to offer training in computer programming. Kabinu said they wanted to expand on Greenberg’s Grooveshark University by offering it to the community so people could improve their skills and their lives.
“I think it was just in him to be that guy to help people out,” Kabuni said. “He was always available, as busy as he was, to take the time to mentor people.”
In a prior interview, Augi Lye, founder of the tech companies Trendy Entertainment and ToneRite, said Grooveshark helped put Gainesville on the map as a company known globally.
“I really don’t know anyone who has had more influence than Josh, everything from being a visionary for the amazing technology coming out and training the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs,” he said.
Greenberg started MaidSuite with Student Maid founder Kristen Hadeed to provide an online scheduling application for cleaning companies and other service providers
Hadeed said they made a pinky promise four years ago to do something together.
“I’m just so glad we did because I learned so much from working with him as such a good friend and just so talented,” she said.
“I think he’s somebody that everybody looked up to. He inspired many people, even beyond his years. He will be missed beyond belief.”
In addition to his mother, Greenberg is survived by his younger brother, Jacob, and grandparents, Jerry and Sandy Greenberg. Lori Greenberg, who lives in St. Petersburg, said Josh’s friends would be arranging a memorial service in Gainesville.
She said her son had a keen intellect and a wonderful sense of humor. He was an animal lover who adored his three cats and was a vegetarian for ethical reasons.
“I call him a legend,” Kabinu said. “It’s weird to say that, but that’s what I think of him because he embodied a lot of what Gainesville innovation and startups and entrepreneurship is for a lot of people.”
“As a community, we definitely rallied behind him and we want to continue his legacy, so to speak, by continuing to be like he was — contribute back, mentor back, provide back. That’s the legacy we should all keep growing to remember him.”