Colin Kroll, the co-founder and CEO of the HQ Trivia app and of Vine, has died, officials said. He was 34 years old.
Kroll was found face down in bed in his New York apartment Sunday by police after his girlfriend called to request a wellness check, CNN reported. He was unconscious and pronounced dead at the scene.
“We learned today of the passing of our friend and founder, Colin Kroll, and it's with deep sadness that we say goodbye,” HQ said in a statement. “Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”
What appeared to be heroin and cocaine were found on the scene and taken for further testing, the New York Times reported.
The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of Kroll’s death.
Kroll became a prominent figure in the tech world after co-founding the video looping platform, Vine, in 2012, with business partners Dom Hofmann and Rus Yusupov. Twitter acquired it later that year, before it was officially launched, and shuttered the platform four years later.
Kroll and Yusupov went on to form Intermedia Labs, where they launched HQ Trivia in 2017. The real-time trivia game app was a hit, topping Apple’s free game app chart in 2018.
“I will forever remember him for his kind soul and big heart,” Yusupov wrote on Twitter. “He made the world and internet a better place. Rest in peace, brother.”
Out of respect for Kroll, HQ Trivia chose to not air its show Sunday evening, opting instead to donate what would have been its $25,000 prize to The Humane Society, an animal protection organization and charity Kroll cared greatly for, the show's host, Scott Rogowsky, said.
"I was looking forward to being back on air with all of you tonight, but not under these circumstances," Rogowsky said during the live broadcast Sunday. "It is with a heavy heart that I must share some tragic news."
He announced Kroll's passing, saying: "Colin, or CK as we called him, was a true visionary who changed the game twice. First with vine and then with this very app that you're hearing and seeing me through right now. HQ trivia, the game show that you love so much, would not exist without him.
"But first and foremost, Colin was a good friend and colleague, a person of compassion and generosity, and his sudden lost leaves all of us here at HQ HQ shocked and deeply saddened. Colin was also a loving son and brother, and our thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this time."
Kroll planned to visit his father in Michigan next week for a 10-day Christmas vacation, his father told the Times.
“He had so much talent and had accomplished so much at such a young age,” Alan Kroll said. “It truly is a waste. At 34, imagine the things he’d done and the skills he had. It would have been really fun to watch him at 50.”