David Goldberg, 47, SurveyMonkey CEO, Sandberg husband, dies

David Goldberg, chief executive officer of and husband of Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, has died. He was 47.

He died unexpectedly Friday night, his brother, Robert Goldberg, wrote in a Facebook post. No other details were given.

“It’s with incredible shock and sadness that I’m letting our friends and family know that my amazing brother, Dave Goldberg, beloved husband of Sheryl Sandberg, father of two wonderful children, and son of Paula Goldberg, passed away suddenly last night,” his brother wrote.

Goldberg sold his first startup, Launch Media, to Yahoo and joined SurveyMonkey in 2009. He and Sandberg met in 1996 while they were both working in Los Angeles, according to a 2013 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Sandberg, author of the best-selling book “Lean In,” frequently wrote and talked about how Goldberg was a crucial partner in her career, supporting her in small ways – like doing the laundry – and large, such as persuading her to join Facebook even though they had a 6-month-old daughter at the time.

“I wrote in Lean In that the most important decision a woman makes is if she has a life partner and who that life partner will be. The best decision I ever made was to marry Dave,” Sandberg wrote in a March 5 Facebook post.

David Bruce Goldberg was born on Oct. 2, 1967, in Minneapolis to Mel and Paula Goldberg. 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.

“Dave Goldberg was an amazing person and I am glad I got to know him,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “My thoughts and prayers are with Sheryl and her family.”

Earlier in his career, Goldberg worked as a director of business development at Capitol Records in Los Angeles. He founded Launch Media, which delivered music and music-related content online, in 1994, and sold it to Yahoo amid the dot-com bust of 2001. Billboard magazine named him one of the top “power players” in digital music in 2006.

SurveyMonkey, an online questionnaire service, raised $250 million in venture capital funding in December. The financing was intended to help the company pursue acquisitions and let employees and existing shareholders sell some of their stock. The Palo Alto, California-based company is profitable and has more than 20 million customers.

Goldberg’s Facebook page quickly filled up with anecdotes and condolences from executives and entrepreneurs including David Golden, a veteran Silicon Valley banker and managing partner at Revolution Ventures, and Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney.

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


With assistance from Charles W. Stevens in New York and Cory Johnson, Brad Stone and Emily Chang in San Francisco.