On Saturday afternoon Ilya Segalovich, co-founder of the “Google of Russia”, Yandex, was taken off life support and passed away. That ended a battle with terminal metastatic gastric cancer that began nearly a year ago.
Early reports indicated that Segalovich had died on Thursday, July 25th. The company put out a statement lamenting Segalovich’s unexpected death. But shortly after, company CEO Arkady Volozh clarified Segalovich’s condition – saying that he was still alive, but in a coma.
“Ilya’s official medical condition was ‘coma with no signs of brain activity’. From what has appeared in the media, it felt like some thought that he was in a vegetative state – a state, in which the brain is active, even though other, technically replaceable, organs have failed. A patient in a vegetative state can be maintained on life support for years. In the case of brain death, however, supporting a body longer than a few days is impossible,” said Volozh.
On Saturday, Segalovich was taken off life support.
“We had to let him go with dignity,” said Volozh.
After his diagnosis with terminal cancer last September, Segalovich wasn’t given much time to live – but as Volozh says, “a miracle happened.” Segalovich began to respond to treatment, and his cancer was stalled. But last week, doctors discovered a tumor in his brain. Within days, Segalovich had slipped into a coma.
“Ilya was a friend of life and this is a terrible personal loss. Ilya’s contributions to the founding and development of Yandex were invaluable. More importantly, his philanthropic contributions touched many children in need. My thoughts and those of all of the Yandex family are with Ilya’s family at this difficult time. We know that the strong technical team Ilya helped to build will carry on the work Ilya cared so passionately about. Ilya was an encyclopedia in technology and his highest ethical standards has always set the landmark for us all,” said Volozh.
“Yandex” was first invented in 1993 by Volozh and Segalovich to describe their search technologies, and it means “yet another index.” Yandex.ru was first launched in 1997, and was incorporated as a standalone company in 2000. Today, Yandex hold nearly two-thirds of the search market share in Russia.