Ilya Zhitomirskiy, one of the founders of nascent social network Diaspora, has reportedly died at the age of 21. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed publicly.
Last year, Zhitomirskiy and three fellow New York University students – Dan Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg and Raphael Sofaer – launched Diaspora as an alternative to Facebook. Their aim was to put users completely in control of their data, and the project has gained momentum in 2011, raising around $200,000 via Kickstarter.
Diaspora is still very much in the early stages of development, but is already showing signs of strong potential. There’s clearly an appetite for a social network that isn’t Facebook, although whether any of the current contenders – Diaspora, Google+ and so on – have quite got the mix right is debatable.