Blake Krikorian, Entrepreneur Who Founded Sling Media, Dies at 48

Blake Krikorian Getty H 2016
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The longtime entrepreneur and investor was a veteran of Microsoft and had served on the board at Amazon.

Blake Krikorian, a technology investor and entrepreneur who co-founded Sling Media, died Wednesday. He was 48. 

Krikorian was found next to his car, which was parked near the Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, Calif., where he had been paddle boarding, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Foucrault said that he appears to have died of natural causes. 

A longtime tech executive who was well regarded for his expertise in media and digital video, Krikorian founded Sling Media with his brother, Jason Krikorian, in 2004. Together they developed the Slingbox, which allows customers to place-shift TV programming over the internet. They sold the company to EchoStar in 2007 for nearly $400 million and left in 2009.

“We are shocked and saddened by the tragic news of Blake’s passing," Mark Vena, vp worldwide marketing at Sling Media, said in a statement. "He was a true visionary who forever changed the content landscape when he envisioned the evolution of TV Anywhere over a decade ago with the founding of Slingbox. While I personally did not have the privilege of meeting him, from my conversations with several employees at Sling Media who knew him well, it is clear that he was beloved by all who had the pleasure of working with him.

"Once he believed in something his passion was second to none, and while he was a successful entrepreneur he never forgot the ‘human element’ in his attitude towards his colleagues," the statement continued. "Outside of the company he was a friend to everyone and genuinely cared for people’s well-being, which is a rare virtue that no one at the company took for granted. His impact and legacy reaches far beyond his work at Sling Media and his loss will be felt by many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

In the years sense his tenure at Sling, the UCLA alumnus and former water polo player became an active tech investor, had a brief stint as an Xbox executive at Microsoft and served on the board at Amazon.

Recode, which first reported news of Krikorian's death, reports that he is survived by his wife, Cathy, and their two daughters.