Allen Stern, a respected tech blogger and entrepreneur who shifted his attention to helping others improve their health, has died, prompting an outpouring of condolences and tributes on the Internet.
Stern, who founded tech blog CenterNetworks and startup CloudContacts, died last week, according to a message posted yesterday to his Facebook page by his sister Sari Rosenberger.
She did not discuss the cause of death, but Stern had struggled with his weight for many years and had recently lost more than 125 pounds through diet and exercise, according to friend Louis Gray. His age was not immediately clear.
Stern began working on the Internet in 1995 in the early days of the Web, serving as the editor of CenterNetworks.com, a blog focusing on startups and entrepreneurialism. In 2008, he founded CloudContacts, a business card processor that organizes the stacks of business cards people collect every day.
With a goal of improving his health, Stern moved from New York to Austin, Texas, and started a company called Let's Talk Fitness, which promoted healthy living with weight-loss tips and recipes for fruit and vegetable smoothies.
"Once a major cause for concern a couple years ago," Gray said, Stern's health "had dramatically improved... he fought hard and made himself look dramatically better." Stern recently posted a "before-and-after" image on Let's Talk Fitness' Facebook page that showed the transformation.
Gray, a tech blogger who now works at Google, wrote on his blog of the close friendship he formed with Stern over the years, characterizing him as "genuine and personal." He wrote:
I'll miss Allen. I missed it when he stopped posting as regularly to CenterNetworks as he once did. But more, I'll miss the fun email threads and fun phone calls that always left me laughing and feeling better. Death sucks and tonight, I'm sad. Bye, Allen.
News of Stern's passing shocked many in the tech blog community. Dan Lewis, the director of new media communications, wrote in a blog post that Stern was "re-dedicating his life to help people learn to live a healthy life":
He was reaching thousand and thousands of people each week via the site, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and had 3,000 people signed up for his Smoothie a Day email newsletter. He took incredible pride in this, crafting images that would make a professional photographer nod in agreement, all to spread the message of the value and importance of good health. He was having an impact, too; he regularly shared with me the wonderful comments people emailed him and left him on Facebook, thanking him for inspiring them.
Other reactions, including this from former CNET News social-networking reporter Caroline McCarthy:
Oh my. My friend @allenstern has passed. A big loss to our community. Very sad.— Micah Baldwin (@micah) April 7, 2013
Tech and health blogging innovator Allen Stern has died.He was a kind man with a lot of integrity & hustle. facebook.com/allenstern/pos...— Marshall Kirkpatrick (@marshallk) April 7, 2013