Tragedy strikes local family; son of former YouTube CEO found dead, possible drug overdose

From left, Susan Wojcicki, Marco Troper and Dennis Troper. Marco died on Tuesday of a suspected drug overdose in his UC-Berkeley dorm. Photo from Esther Wojcicki.

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

Marco Troper, the son of former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, died at his UC-Berkeley dorm from a suspected drug overdose, his grandmother told the Post.

Troper, 19, was found in his Clark Kerr Campus dorm on Tuesday, his grandmother, Esther Wojcicki, confirmed.

The family doesn’t know how he died and is waiting for a toxicology report to be completed, but say Troper’s death appears to be from an accidental drug overdose.
“Kids in college, especially freshmen and sophomores, experiment with everything. I think this was an experiment that went wrong,” Wojcicki said. Troper was part of a family well-known in Silicon Valley — the Wojcicki family. His mother, Susan, rented out her Menlo Park garage to her friends, Sergey Brin and Larry Page where they refined what became Google.

Susan Wojcicki joined Brin and Page as Google employee number 16 and was tapped to head up YouTube. Her husband, Dennis Troper, is currently a Google executive.

Troper’s aunt, Anne Wojcicki was married to Brin until their divorce in 2015. Anne Wojcicki is a co-founder and CEO of DNA testing company 23andMe. His other aunt, Janet Wojcicki is a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at UCSF.

Esther Wojcicki, his grandmother, headed Palo Alto High School’s journalism department and his grandfather, Stanley Wojcicki, who died in May, was chair of Stanford’s physics department.

Troper grew up in Los Altos and attended Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto and Menlo School in Atherton.

Asked tough questions

At school, Troper was known for being very inquisitive and asking tough questions. He also often had the answer when teachers would pose questions to the class, his grandmother recalled.

“He was amazing. Also very funny, he had a great sense of humor,” Esther Wojcicki said. “He was a beautiful, beautiful child and a handsome young man.”

Troper was an “all-around athlete — participating in a variety of sports, including boxing, swimming and tennis.

He was in his second semester at UC-Berkeley as a math major.

Parents need to be aware

Esther Wojcicki said the family would like to prevent things like this from happening to other families.

“I think the most important thing is that teenagers and college students need to know that drugs today are not the same as the drugs of yesterday, they’re often laced with fentanyl. So while they think they know what they are doing if they were to look at the statistics nationwide, they can see that more people die of drug overdoses than from the pandemic,” Esther Wojcicki said.

Troper is survived by his parents and four siblings.

21 Comments

    • I know. I used to have addiction issues – ive been sober for 4.5 Years+ – I am going to be 40 and married 3 years almost – hoping for a baby – this makes me so sad – prayers for the family

  1. This is a profound and insightful statement by the grandmother: “I think the most important thing is that teenagers and college students need to know that drugs today are not the same as the drugs of yesterday, they’re often laced with fentanyl.”

    His age group was hit very hard from school lockdowns, quarantines, travel restrictions, sports cancellations, and mask policies. I wonder the percentage of teens and young adults who turned to drug use as a result of the psychological harms caused by those policies.

    • Las Vegas-area Clark County Nevada began re-opening schools early back in January 2021 due to the rise in teen suicides caused by the lockdowns. I knew a Stanford prof who lost his Stanford undergrad son a few years back, that was pre-pandemic from what I recall, but the lockdowns accelerated very negative trends among the young. Being from a family worth $100s of millions probably didn’t help either. Rest in peace.

    • College kids have been experimenting with drugs forever. Stop blaming the pandemic for everything. Don’t use this beautiful young man’s death to further your own agenda.

    • Go ahead, blame everything excerpt the kid thinking he knew what he was doing but was playing with fire, as his grandma said.
      Yeah, “policies” made him do it….

  2. I can’t believe it’s suicide because this young man had so much to live for. He would inherit billions and never have to work a day in his life. He could have servants attending to his every need. With all of this privilege, life should have been a breeze.

  3. I guess Alvin is out of the hospital and has found a computer. Every issue, no matter what it is, requires him to bring up the pandemic. At what point, Alvin, will you drop the subject and move on? Meanwhile, don’t forget to take your meds or you’ll be back in the hospital.

  4. I worked with Susan at a small Silicon Valley software development company where she was a researcher and I was Creative Director. I’m not in touch with Susan these days but if I were I would congratulate her on raising a wonderful family and give her condolences for her loss, which is a major one. Yes, we are seeing more and more of this kind of tragic reality happening around us these days and it is very sad and it is hard to comprehend and even harder to try and prevent. We don’t know what a young person will do when they are given a party drug or whatever they are offered. All we can do is tell them as many times as possible to be very very careful.

    • If they shut the border down & continued to build the wall in 2021, then this boy probably would still be alive today. Very sad.

      • The reason why fentanyl crosses over to the US is because there are US individuals who want it this way…pay thousands of dollars to make sure it crosses over, pay people who are US citizens to distribute it across the states, these people usually have money to hide this and to buy plenty of drugs. Shutting the border down would do NOTHING, the drugs would be shipped over in ships. Do your research before commenting such absurdities…

    • “be very, very careful” indeed. Donations from his parents, aunt and grandmother went to a political party that opened the borders, resulting in a nation awash in fentanyl. If Marco’s family was truly regretful and wanted to leave the world a better place, ban the pro-fentanyl videos on YouTube and use your wealth to stopping this plague. I won’t hold my breath.

  5. If you had asked the ceo of YouTube a week ago if pro fentanyl YouTube videos are bad she and her elite friends would’ve smugly laughed like hyenas at you.

  6. When a sibling was deployed on a aircraft carrier the Navy devoted a solid week from the get-go to alcohol and drug abuse education curriculum. Sounds like colleges need devote their first week to these topics as well.

    • Colleges do speak of the topic in orientation. They don’t do a good job of it though. They need to be more descriptive, like showing just how little fentanyl it takes to die (3-5 grains). They need to tell tragic stories, find a way to make an impact on the students because most of them think they are invulnerable, as we all did when we were young.

  7. My son had Esther Wojcicki as his freshman English teacher at Paly in 2010. She really cares about students and told me about my son having reading comprehension issues that we were unaware of. Most teachers don’t want to offend parents but I am forever grateful to her for giving us that advice, as we got him help. I believe that Esther will publicize the dangers of drugs, she is now on a mission. This is such a tragedy and I am guessing it was a dumb mistake on Marco’s part. Guessing he tried it before and lived to tell so figured it was okay to take again. Back in the 80s, we experimented with cocaine and pot, both were safe. These days, drugs are not safe, it’s not worth it. Stick with alcohol!

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