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Akamai: Co-founder dies in WTC plane crash

Daniel Lewin
Daniel Lewin  

By Daniel Sieberg
CNN Science and Technology

(CNN) -- Daniel Lewin, co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) at Akamai Technologies Inc., is said by his company to have died Tuesday as a passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 11. The Boeing 767, originally bound for Los Angeles from Boston, crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Lewin was 31.

At 8:48 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Flight 11 became the first of two airliners to slam into the 110-story structure, opening an apparently coordinated terrorist attack on the United States that shortly would be felt in Washington as an attack was made on the Pentagon.

Lewin's presence on the plane and death were confirmed to CNN by George H. Conrades, chairman and CEO of Akamai, who said, "Danny was a wonderful human being. He will be deeply missed by his many friends at Akamai. Our thoughts and prayers are with Danny's family, friends and colleagues during this time of national tragedy and personal loss."

Felicia Spagnoli, spokesperson for Akamai, said, “Obviously this is a devastating personal loss and we’re all deeply saddened.” Spagnoli said Lewin left the company’s Boston headquarters Tuesday morning and was headed for Los Angeles on business matters.

In July, Lewin was named one of the Top 10 people of the Enterprise Systems Power 100, a list of industry leaders chosen for their effect on the IT (information technology) landscape and for their ability to influence the industry's direction.

MIT beginnings

Lewin founded Akamai in September 1998, with Tom Leighton, the company's chief scientist, and a leading group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers and business professionals. The company's base is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, very near Boston.

Akamai produces technology designed to facilitate online content delivery. Such software is meant to help companies reduce the complexity and cost of operating a uniform Web infrastructure. uses a number of services offered by Akamai.

Previously, Lewin worked at IBM's research laboratory in Haifa, Israel, where he was a full-time research fellow and project leader while simultaneously completing two undergraduate degrees at the Technion, Israel's premiere technology university.

Born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in Jerusalem, Lewin is an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, having served in the country's military for more than four years.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

• Akamai

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