Dave Goldberg, husband of Facebook exec Sheryl Sandberg, dies suddenly

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NEW YORK – Facebook announced Saturday that Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Goldberg, the husband of Sheryl Sandberg, died suddenly on Friday.

“We are heartbroken by this news,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email to CNNMoney.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a Facebook post, said Goldberg died Friday evening while the couple was on vacation abroad. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Sandberg, one of the most prominent women executives in tech, flew back to the U.S. on Saturday morning, according to the post.

“Sheryl is a very strong person and knows we’re all thinking of her,” Zuckerberg wrote. “She is requesting privacy for now and will update us when she’s ready.”

Goldberg was the CEO of SurveyMonkey. He joined the company in 2009. He had founded online music startup Launch Media, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2001.

“Dave’s genius, courage and leadership were overshadowed only by his compassion, friendship and heart,” SurveyMonkey said in a statement. “We are all heartbroken.

Goldberg and Sandberg married in 2004. At the time, Goldberg was vice president of Yahoo Music and Sandberg was the company’s VP of online ad sales.

Sandberg, who joined Facebook as chief operating officer in 2008, is the author of the best-selling book “Lean In.” She has since become a vocal advocate for equality between women and men — on the job and at home — through her organization LeanIn.org and op/eds and public appearances.

News of Goldberg’s death drew a swift outpouring of statements from around the tech world Saturday.

Dick Costolo, the chief executive of Twitter, wrote: “Heartbreaking. One of the truly great people on the planet, Dave was of almost unimaginably remarkable character.

Goldberg’s brother has set up a memorial page on Facebook.