Google Executive Dan Fredinburg Lost In Mount Everest Avalanche

April 26, 2015

2:34 pm

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people. It also wreaked havoc on the brave few who were attempting to climb Mount Everest, which is roughly 150 miles from the epicenter of the quake. One of the twenty-two climbers who died as a result of the avalanche was Dan Fredinburg, an inventor and energetic engineer who held the title “Google Adventurer” at Google. Fredinburg was loved by many in the tech and startup community, and his confirmed death – posted on his Twitter account and Facebook page by his sister yesterday – sent shockwaves through the social media landscape.

 According to the Hollywood Reporter, Fredinburg “previously dated actress Sophia Bush before the couple ended their relationship in Aug[ust] 2014.” Bush shared her sadness via Twitter, pointing to a photo and message on Instagram. She later pointed Twitter followers to a Crowdrise campaign aimed at celebrating Dan; 100 pecent of all donations will go directly to relief efforts and to the children affected by the Nepal earthquake.

There are no adequate words. Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I’ll likely never find them all. Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny. A dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world. His brain knew how to build it. His heart was constantly evolving to push himself to make it so. He was one of my favorite human beings on Earth. He was one of the great loves of my life. He was one of my truest friends. He was an incredible brother, a brilliant engineer, and a damn good man. I’m devastated and simultaneously so deeply grateful to have known and loved him, and to have counted him as one of my tribe. I was so looking forward to our planned download of “all the things” when he got home. I am crushed that I will never hear that story. I am crushed knowing that there are over 1,000 people in Nepal suffering this exact feeling, knowing that they too will never hear another tale about an adventure lived from someone that they love. Disasters like this are often unquantifiable, the enormity is too much to understand. Please remember that each person who is now gone was someone’s Dan. Please remember that our time on this Earth is not guaranteed. Please tell those you love that you do. Right now. This very minute. And please send a kiss to the sky for my friend Dan. His energy is so big and so bright, and it’s all around us, so put some love toward him today. And then hug your loved ones again. #goodbyesweetfriend #savetheice #Nepal

A photo posted by Sophia Bush (@sophiabush) on

I had a chance to meet Dan a few years ago when he visited downtown Las Vegas for what was one of the very first Catalyst Week events. Dan was a speaker and shared his passion and knowledge for taking on patent trolls. You can watch his talk below.

Dan Fredinburg – CatalystCreativ Speaker Series 11.15.12 from Downtown Project LV on Vimeo.

During the same Catalyst Week, Alex Abelin, former Googler turned tech entrepreneur and  longtime close friend of Dan’s, also spoke. This morning, Alex shared a powerful and touching tribute to Dan that we wanted to share.

My heart is broken. I’m in disbelief. We lost Dan Fredinburg yesterday in Everest.

One of my life’s greatest blessings is to have shared the past 10 years of my life with Dan. How did I get so lucky to have him so close. To call him a brother, a best friend, a co-conspirator in mischief, adventure, Burning Man, Mt. Shasta, Google, 12/21/12 in Mexico, SoberQ1, Eden, the list goes on and on. He was a man that I always, and will always, look up to. To try to be as big, and bold, and charismatic and daring and bright. But there’s not trying to be, there is only one, only one Dan Fredinburg. Every person I had the pleasure of introducing Dan to walked away with the same reaction. WOW. Wow, who was that? Was he for real? Does he really do that for work, did he really accomplish that, did he really summit that? The answer was always YES. Yes, he was the biggest, brightest, most electric human being I’ll ever know.

The only thing bigger than Dan’s sense of adventure and extraordinary mental capacity was his heart. His love knew no bounds. His love radiated so far and so deep and touch everyone in his path. A love as real as you can imagine. And as in everything in his life, he worked at it. He was proactive and mindful of his emotional growth over the years. And boy did it pay off. He was a walking mountain of love, a spark of life that lit up the room.

If energy is neither lost nor destroyed, let us all pray that a bit of Dan’s stardust fell in our laps. Let us all move forward with a bit more Dan in us. We can pursue our dreams and we can do it in our way. The Dan way.

Dan, I love you brother, and I carry you with me for the rest of my life.

Dan inspired and energized many, many people – he will be missed.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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