Grooveshark co-founder Josh Greenberg was found dead in his home Sunday, according to the Gainesville Sun. He was 28.
Greenberg’s girlfriend Abby Mayer discovered him after returning from a weekend out of town to the house the couple shared. Police have reportedly discovered no signs of drugs or foul play, and Greenberg’s girlfriend and mother Lori Greenberg know nothing of the music streaming service founder having any particular illness.
The loss struck a chord with the community of Gainesville and the startup world.
Soon after the news broke, “Ken Eats Gainseville” food blogger Ken Peng posted to Facebook a heartfelt tribute to Greenberg, whom the Sun had referred to as a pioneer in the city’s student startup movement. Greenberg had started Grooveshark at the age of 19.
“I know this is a food blog, but I have to take a moment to pay tribute to someone who loved Gainesville as much as I do,” started Peng, continuing, “ I'm shocked, saddened, and devastated over this loss. But I'm very happy to have met Josh and call him a friend. In a town where a lot of graduates can't wait to get up and leave, he stayed here and built a very successful company, putting Gainesville on the map.”
He described Greenberg as someone who mentored other entrepreneurs and built his hometown into “THE place in Florida for young startups and ambitious entrepreneurs.”
Former co-founder and CEO of Circa News Matt Galligan shared in a Facebook post the last communication he received from Greenberg – communication to which Galligan failed to respond in time, to his regret.
“ ‘Hang in there, man. You’re destined for very big things. The best is yet to come. Good run with Circa … you’ve got a lot to be proud of,” Galligan quoted Greenberg as writing in the message.
Circa went on what it called “indefinite hiatus” last month.
“My deepest apologies and greatest thanks, Josh. The world needs more people like you, yet today we're one less, having lost a great one,” Galligan wrote.
Greenberg was coping with a similar turn of bad fortune in his own business when he wrote that last message to Galligan. This past spring, Grooveshark shut down operations as part of a settlement in a lawsuit waged by major record labels.
A message posted the day the company shut down remains on its website.
“We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service,” the message reads.
“It has been a privilege getting to know so many of you and enjoying great music together. Thank you for being such passionate fans.”
In the video below, Greenberg's co-founder, Sam Tarantino, talked to Inc. about some of the company's most difficult past trials.