MANILA, Philippines – Colin Kroll, the CEO and co-founder of high-profile apps HQ Trivia and Vine died on Sunday, December 16 (US time), multiple reports said.
Kroll was found dead in his apartment in New York City, where The New York Times said "police officers found his body facedown on his bed" and found "what appeared to be cocaine and heroin in the apartment."
The police checked up on Kroll after a woman called 911 to check up on him, having grown worried. Several reports say that the woman who called 911 was his girlfriend. Kroll was 34.
Kroll co-founded Vine in 2012, which gained popularity for its content format that limited videos to just 6 seconds, differentiating itself from the longer video format of sites such as YouTube. Just a few months after being founded, Twitter acquired Vine for $30 million, but was eventually discontinued in December 2016, facing tough competition from apps like Instagram and Snapchat which had similar short-form videos. After the acquisition, Kroll worked for Twitter for 2 years before he was dismissed for poor management skills, and allegedly for inappropriate behavior towards women.
Three years after, Kroll, together with Vine co-creator Rus Yusupov, made a hit app again called HQ Trivia, released in August 2017.
The app was an interactive game show, and much like Philippine trivia app Paydro, had comedian hosts, quizzes in multiple-choice format, and offered prize money. Despite its initial early success, HQ Trivia is said to have had a drop off in audience in recent months, with BBC saying that it fell out of Apple's App Store Top 100 this year.
Yusupov and the HQ Trivia Twitter account paid tribute online:
So sad to hear about the passing of my friend and co-founder Colin Kroll. My thoughts & prayers go out to his loved ones. I will forever remember him for his kind soul and big heart. He made the world and internet a better place. Rest in peace, brother. — Rus (@rus) December 16, 2018
We learned today of the passing of our friend and founder, Colin Kroll, and it's with deep sadness that we say goodbye. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time. — HQ Trivia (@hqtrivia) December 16, 2018
Colin's father, Alan Kroll, talked to The New York Times about his son's death, saying that it was a waste of talent to see Colin die at 34. He also noted that his son had stopped drinking, did not have a drug problem but did take drugs recreationally. He also said that living in New York City may have had an effect on his son, saying that “You need to have great constraint to have a disciplined life there," and that the two had talked about him moving away from New York. – Rappler.com