Former YouTube CEO’s son found dead in UC Berkeley dorm, leaving prominent Silicon Valley family ‘devastated beyond comprehension’

Connie Queline

Former YouTube CEO’s son found dead in UC Berkeley dorm, leaving prominent Silicon Valley family ‘devastated beyond comprehension’

The son of former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was found dead in a college dorm on Tuesday.

Marco Troper, 19, was a freshman at UC Berkeley. A drug overdose is suspected. 

“He ingested a drug, and we don’t know what was in it,” Troper’s grandmother, Esther Wojcicki, told SFGATE. “One thing we do know, it was a drug.” The family, she added, is awaiting a toxicology report that could help confirm the cause of death, but it might take up to a month.

“I think the most important thing is that teenagers and college students need to know that drugs today are not the same as the drugs of yesterday, they’re often laced with fentanyl,” Esther Wojcicki told the Daily Post in Palo Alto.

A university spokesperson wrote to Fortune: “We can confirm that Marco Troper, a first-year freshman at UC Berkeley, has died. He was an undeclared major in the College of Letters & Science. We do not know the cause of death, that is to be determined by the coroner’s office.”

There were “no signs of foul play” and an investigation is underway, according to the University of California Police Department.

“Our family is devastated beyond comprehension,” Esther Wojcicki wrote in a Facebook post. “Marco was the most kind, loving, smart, fun and beautiful human being He was just getting starting on his second semester of his freshman year at UC Berkeley majoring in math and was truly loving it.”

The family is well known in Silicon Valley. Susan Wojcicki rented her garage in Menlo Park to Google’s founders—Larry Page and Sergey Brin—in 1998, when she was a marketing manager at Intel. She went on to work for many years at Google, including as the head of YouTube, a role she stepped down from last year. 

Anne Wojcicki, Susan’s sister, is the cofounder and CEO of the personal genomics firm 23andMe, and was previously married to Brin.

Esther Wojcicki wrote a 2019 book entitled How to Raise Successful People and, as a journalism teacher, mentored Lisa Brennan-Jobs, daughter of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.

Troper’s grandfather, the late Stanley Wojcicki, was chairman of Stanford’s physics department. He died last year.

“Marco’s life was cut too short,” Esther Wojcicki wrote in her Facebook post. “And we are all devastated, thinking about all the opportunities and life experiences that he will miss and we will miss together. Marco, we all love you and miss you more than you will ever know.”

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