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What happened to Satya Nadella's son, Zain? Tributes pour in as 26-year-old passes away

Satya Nadella's son Zain passed away after suffering from cerebral palsy (Image via Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images and Seattle Children's Hospital)
Satya Nadella's son Zain passed away after suffering from cerebral palsy (Image via Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images and Seattle Children's Hospital)
Barsha Roy

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's 26-year-old son Zain passed away on February 28, 2022. He was reportedly born with cerebral palsy and succumbed to the health complications associated with his condition.

According to Bloomberg, the news of his demise was announced by Microsoft in an emailed statement to its executives. The company asked employees to keep the family in their thoughts while giving them space to grieve in private.

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Jeff Sperring, CEO of Seattle Children’s Hospital, wrote that Zain will be remembered for his bright smile and his love for music:

“Zain will be remembered for his eclectic taste in music, his bright sunny smile and the immense joy he brought to his family and all those who loved him.”

The 26-year-old reportedly suffered from utero asphyxia at birth that later led to his cerebral palsy. Zain spent the majority of his life undergoing treatment and care at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is bereaved. His 26-year-old son Zain Nadella died Monday morning in US. He had been born with cerebral palsy. Zain received much of his treatment at Children’s Hospital. May his soul rest in peace.#RIPZainNadella #ZainNadella https://t.co/9nlpG9Lx7M

In 2021, the Nadella family donated $15 million to the hospital with the aim of supporting its work in mental health care and neurosciences medicine. They also helped establish the Zain Nadella Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosciences as part of the hospital’s Integrative Brain Research.


Twitter mourns the loss of Satya Nadella's son

Satya Nadella and his wife Anu welcomed their son Zain in 1996. The child suffered extreme damage at birth due to utero asphyxiation and was rushed to the intensive care unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

He was later diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy that affected his speech and vision and left him dependent on his parents and caregivers. Following Zain’s tragic death, several people took to Twitter to offer their condolences to the Nadella family:

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's 26-year-old son Zain Nadella passes away. How hard it is to bear it.Satya Nadella @satyanadella got the strength. The biggest sorrow in the world...🙏🙏🙏#RIP #SatyaNadella#zainNadella https://t.co/7haCTLXwMY
Deeply saddened by the demise of Mr Zain Nadella, Son of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella ji.He was just 26 years old. Gone too soon.Nadella family belongs to my native district Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh.May his soul rest in peace. ॐ शांति 🙏🏻 https://t.co/fvgICZ0ejD
Zain Nadella, son of Satya Nadella and his wife Anu, passed away after battling cerebral palsy. He was 26 years old.Strength to family to bear this loss! https://t.co/L5QXmwEZNX
My heartfelt condolences to Shri Satya Nadella on the sad demise of his son Zain https://t.co/6heHAV7i0c
Very unfortunate news😭.My deep Condolences to #Microsoft CEO @satyanadella sir family members cause... death of his son #zainNadella with rare disease #CerebralPalsy . RIP😭🙏. https://t.co/x557Tmjd4h
Deeply saddened by the demise of Mr Zain Nadella, Son of Microsoft CEO @satyanadella. My deepest condolences to Shri Satya Nadella and family.
Extremely grieved to know about Zain. Sir @satyanadella hope Krishna Kripa give you enough. strength to come out of this and serve humanity the way you are doing🙏.(Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's son passes away He was 26 years old and had been born with cerebral palsy.) https://t.co/9e1zk99oG0
Saddened to hear abt passing of @satyanadella 's son Zain. My deepest condolences to him and his family n friends. I pray that god gives him n family the strength to bear wth this loss 🙏🏻🙏🏻 #OmShanti
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is bereaved. His 26-year-old son Zain Nadella died Monday morning in US. He had been born with cerebral palsy. May his soul rest in peace.#RIPZainNadella #ZainNadella @satyanadella #satyanadella https://t.co/VjxqTdXZ8P
My heartfelt condolences to Shri Satya Nadella on the sad demise of his son Zain @satyanadella 🙏 https://t.co/CGIN9UhdHl

As tributes continue to pour in online, it is certain that Zain will be missed by his loved ones. He leaves behind his parents and two sisters, Divya and Tara Nadella.


Satya Nadella opened up about Zain in his book

Satya Nadella opened up about his son in his 2017 book 'Hit Refresh' (Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Satya Nadella opened up about his son in his 2017 book 'Hit Refresh' (Image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Since becoming the CEO of Microsoft in 2014, Satya Nadella has extensively worked towards highlighting accessibility in product development. He has focused on designing products that can serve specially-abled users better.

Under his leadership, the company also started hiring specially-abled people through initiatives like the Autism Hiring Program and the Supported Employment Program for better representation.

In a 2017 blog post, Nadella mentioned that his personal lessons with his son reflected on his professional endeavours:

"Becoming a father of a son with special needs was the turning point in my life that has shaped who I am today. It has helped me better understand the journey of people with disabilities. It has shaped my personal passion for and philosophy of connecting new ideas to empathy for others."
Satya Nadella's son, Zain, has passed away at the age of 26. Condolences to Anu and @satyanadella. Zain was born with cerebral palsy and in his book, Hit Refresh, Satya dug into his personal journey and wrote how Zain’s birth required him to grow as a person. https://t.co/PPiecqw6Jr

That same year, the Microsoft CEO also opened up about Zain in his bestselling book Hit Refresh. He shared how he slowly accepted his responsibility as Zain’s father despite being devastated by his condition at birth:

“I was devastated. But mostly I was sad for how things turned out for me and Anu. Thankfully, Anu helped me to understand that it was not about what happened to me. It was about deeply understanding what had happened to Zain, and developing empathy for his pain and his circumstances while accepting our responsibility as his parents.”

Satya Nadella also recalled visiting his son after being appointed Microsoft CEO in 2014 and noticing all the medical devices running through Windows:

“It was a stark reminder that our work at Microsoft transcended business, that it made life itself possible for a fragile young boy. It also brought a new level of gravity to the looming decisions back at the office on our cloud and Windows 10 upgrades.”
In Hit Refresh, Satya Nadella wrote about how his son Zain’s condition changed the way he looked at tech, his work and life itself. https://t.co/Fr3VvpXXu4

He even wrote about Zain’s love for music in his book. Nadella shared that at the time, three high school students developed a Windows application to help Zain control music on his own by tapping his head against a sensor on the side of his wheelchair:

“Zain loves music and has wide-ranging tastes spanning eras, genres, and artists. He likes everything from Leonard Cohen to Abba to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and wanted to be able to flip through these artists, filling his room with whatever music suited him at any given moment.”

Meanwhile, in his blog, Satya Nadella called Zain the “joy” of the family, whose “strength and warmth” inspired and motivated him to push the boundaries of technology.


Edited by Saman

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