(Photo: yunphoto/Creative Commons)
The man killed on the Caltrain tracks in Menlo Park on Friday has been identified as 39-year-old Eric Salvatierra, a vice president at PayPal. The circumstances of his death, however, and rising suicide rates for the railroad company, have caused some to wonder whether the victim, whom relatives insist was "never visibly upset," may have taken his own life.
Eric Salvatierra, a long-serving executive at eBay's PayPal business, died on Friday after being struck by a Caltrain in Silicon Valley.
The 39-year-old father of three was hit by the train at 9.30 a.m. on Friday on the northbound tracks at Ravenswood Avenue, according to a Caltrain spokesperson.
His family issued a statement on Monday saying he had been diagnosed over the summer with bipolar disorder .
"In the past eight months, Eric and Meredith worked tirelessly with mental health professionals to get him through his illness," the family's statement said. "In the end, he lost his fight with this debilitating disease."
The officials at Caltrain and the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office are yet to officially announce the cause of death. It could take months for them to investigate whether the incident was an accident or suicide.
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"Eric's family has decided to be forthcoming about his illness to support others who are suffering, and also to help abolish the stigma associated with mental illness," the statement said.
Salvatierra has been a long serving member of eBay. Before working at PayPal he worked at Skype. In a company email, eBay's CEO John Donahoe described Salvatierra as one of the company's "longest-serving and most loyal employees, having served as a senior leader in eBay, PayPal and Skype over a 14-year period."
"Every role Eric held for the company was performed with skill and unmatched dedication," Donahoe said in the email. "He always had more time for new tasks, for welcoming employees, or just to lend an ear. All with warmth, humor, patience, and an unprecedented respect for those around him. Among Eric's many gifts was his ability to bring out the best in all of us and compel his colleagues to be better employees and better people."
The executive has been described as an amazing husband and humanitarian who participated in many charities with his wife.
Salvatierra's case is the fourth fatality for Calitrain in 2012. There were 16 fatalities on its right of way last year, according to ABC News.
"It is always regrettable when a life is lost. Caltrain reminds everyone to be safe around train tracks. Caltrain would also like to thank our passengers for their patience while we deal with these sad incidents," the company said in a statement.
This article is copyrighted by International Business Times, the business news leader