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Blake Krikorian, Silicon Valley Entrepreneur, Dies at 48

Co-founder of Sling Media apparently suffered a heart attack while surfing

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Blake Krikorian died at age 48 near San Francisco on Wednesday.

Recode’s Kara Swisher, who had a personal relationship with Krikorian, reported that the cause of death is not confirmed, but it appears to be a heart attack that occurred while he was surfing.

“I cannot tell you how many times he would call me after I posted a story to tell me what I had gotten right and wrong, voice booming,” Swisher wrote. “But it was always with a devilish twinkle and giant smile, because Krikorian always got the sometimes silly farce of the tech world, as well as its important impact.”

Krikorian was the co-founder and CEO of Sling Media before he became the CEO of id8 Group. Microsoft bought id8 Group in 2013, and Krikorian then was the corporate vice president of its Xbox business unit. He also served on Amazon’s board of directors and worked with a variety of tech startups.

Sling Media was sold to EchoStar Communications in 2007 for around $400 million. Krikorian also invested in tyro, Kno, Clipboard, Chirply and Tasty Labs, Clicker and FreeWheel, according to Recode, which added that his survivors include his wife, Cathy, and two daughters.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but Mark Vena, vice president of worldwide marketing at Sling Media, shared the following statement:

“We are shocked and saddened by the tragic news of Blake’s passing. He was a true visionary who forever changed the content landscape when he envisioned the evolution of TV Anywhere over a decade ago with the founding of Slingbox. While I personally did not have the privilege of meeting him, from my conversations with several employees at Sling Media who knew him well, it is clear that he was beloved by all who had the pleasure of working with him. Once he believed in something his passion was second to none, and while he was a successful entrepreneur he never forgot the ‘human element’ in his attitude towards his colleagues. Outside of the company he was a friend to everyone and genuinely cared for people’s well-being, which is a rare virtue that no one at the company took for granted. His impact and legacy reaches far beyond his work at Sling Media and his loss will be felt by many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

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