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Silicon Valley giant Motwani dies in pool

ATHERTON, Calif., June 7 (UPI) -- Stanford University computer science professor Rajeev Motwani has died at his Atherton, Calif., home, San Mateo County, Calif., officials said. He was 47.

Motwani apparently drowned Friday in a backyard pool, the San Jose Mercury News reported Sunday. Friends told the newspaper Motwani, who could not swim, may have slipped and fallen into the pool.

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Motwani was a well-known and beloved figure in the Silicon Valley community of high-tech companies and workers, where he was described as a kindly academic who was never too busy to mentor Stanford graduate students and officers of start-up companies -- including one started by former student Sergey Brin, founder of Google Inc.

"It's a rare combination to have somebody who is so smart and also such a nice guy," Brin wrote Saturday on his personal blog, adding that Motwani "had a lot of interest in computer science theory. He's primarily a theoretician, and it's incredible the amount of impact he has had directly on products and companies."

"Everybody in Silicon Valley talked to him," David Hornik, a California venture capitalist, told the Mercury News.

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