In this Dec. 16, 2010 file photo Josh Greenberg, co-founder of Grooveshark Music, works at the company’s downtown Gainesville office. He has died at age 28.
Published: Monday, July 20, 2015 at 12:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 20, 2015 at 5:32 p.m.
Grooveshark co-founder Josh Greenberg, a pioneer in Gainesville’s student startup movement, was found dead in his bed Sunday evening by his girlfriend in the house they shared. He was 28.
Lori Greenberg, his mother, said Monday she was told by police who investigated Sunday night that there was no evidence of injuries or drugs.
She told police he had never been sick a day in his life; and his girlfriend, Abby Mayer, said she had never known him to be sick and he was not prescribed any medication, according to a Gainesville Police Department report.
Lori Greenberg, who lives in St. Petersburg, said the medical examiner’s autopsy found no explanation for a cause of death, but toxicology results will take two or three months.
“They are as baffled as I am,” she said.
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 April 30 settlement that shut down Grooveshark 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, both from the Tampa area, 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.
Chamber board Chairman John Carlson and interim president and CEO Susan Davenport issued a statement expressing the organization’s sorrow.
“A true technology pioneer and visionary, Josh was co-founder of Grooveshark.com, which brought unprecedented tech opportunities to our region,” the statement read. “His contributions, which helped to lay our region’s innovative technology foundation, will not be forgotten.”
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 lives.
“I think it was just in him to be that guy to help people out,” Kabinu 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’s fame helped put Gainesville on the map.