Google Mentor Mourned in Silicon Valley

Rajeev Motwani, a Stanford professor, advised Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Monday, Jun 8, 2009  |  Updated 12:36 PM PDT
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Google Mentor Mourned in Silicon Valley

Stanford Univesity

The apparent drowning death of a Stanford University professor is under investigation after his body was found in his backyard swimming pool.
     
Rajeev Motwani, a 47-year-old Atherton resident and computer science professor renowned for his academic research and for assisting  Silicon Valley start-ups, was found at about 12:30 p.m. Friday, according to  the San Mateo County coroner's office.

The coroner's office is investigating whether Motwani's death was related to a pre-existing medical condition.     

Motwani was last seen around 1:30 a.m. Friday. He had just wrapped up a party at his home to celebrate the end of the school year and was walking outside with a cigar to wind down after the festivities.

The family nanny found him in the pool Friday. The San Jose Mercury News reports his body was at the bottom of the pool, although there are other reports he was found floating in the pool.

Friends of Motwani said he did not know how to swim.  They said he planned to take lessons.

Motwani's work using algorithms to search vast computer databases, like the Internet, is celebrated in Silicon Valley.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin wrote on his blog that Motwani's counsel played a big role in his research, education, and professional development.

According the university, Motwani was born in Jammu, India, and  earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of  Technology Kanpur in 1983 and his Ph.D from the University of California at Berkeley, in 1988.

He leaves behind his wife, Asha Jadeja, two daughters, Naitri and  Anya, and two brothers. The university is planning a public memorial service.

Friends have chartered a bus and will go to his home tonight to be a support to his family.

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