Satya Nadella, current CEO and chairman of Microsoft, has suffered a devastating loss in his family. His and wife Anu‘s 26-year-old son Zain tragically passed away of Cerebral palsy. Microsoft shared the news of Zain’s death on March 1 in an email to top executives. “I know we all want to support Satya during this difficult time,” Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan said in the message, per reports. “The best way right now is to hold him and his family in your thoughts and prayers, while allowing them the privacy and peace to process such a grave loss,” she added.
Below, we break down five key things to know about Zain and his life-long battle with Cerebral palsy.
1. Zain was born with Cerebral palsy.
Zain dealt with Cerebral palsy from the moment he was born on August 13, 1996. “One night, during the thirty-sixth week of her pregnancy, Anu noticed that the baby was not moving as much as she was accustomed to,” Satya wrote in a 2017 blog post. “So we went to the emergency room of a local hospital in Bellevue. We thought it would be just a routine checkup, little more than new parent anxiety. In fact, I distinctly remember feeling annoyed by the wait times we experienced in the emergency room. But upon examination, the doctors were alarmed enough to order an emergency cesarean section,” Satya added.
Zain ended up being born at Seattle’s Children Hospital, and Anu recovered from the difficult birth. “Over the course of the next couple of years, we learned more about the damage caused by in utero asphyxiation, and how Zain would require a wheelchair and be reliant on us because of severe cerebral palsy,” Satya wrote. “I was devastated. But mostly I was sad for how things turned out for me and Anu.”
2. He was treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
During his 26 years of life Zain was treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital, the same place he was born. The family have residences in Clyde Hill and Bellevue, Washington. In 2021, the Nadellas donated $15 million to establish the Zain Nadella Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurosciences to support the hospital’s work in neurosciences medicine and mental health care, according to GeekWire.
3. Satya opened up about his son’s condition in his book.
Satya was very open about his son’s struggles. In his 2017 book Hit Refresh, Satya shared how he and his wife handled caring for their beloved child. “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.” The businessman also revealed in the book that he and Anu had to administer multiple therapies to their son daily, as well as surgeries “that called for strenuous follow-up care after nerve-wracking ICU stays.”
4. Zain left a lasting impact on his father.
While Zain was constantly in and out of the hospital, his father got a new outlook in Microsoft technologies. Zain was being treated with devices running Windows and connected to the cloud. “It was a stark reminder that our work at Microsoft transcended business, that it made life itself possible for a fragile young boy,” Satya wrote in his book. “It also brought a new level of gravity to the looming decisions back at the office on our cloud and Windows 10 upgrades. We’d better get this right, I recall thinking to myself.”
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. pic.twitter.com/Fr3VvpXXu4
— Ramnath (@rmnth) March 1, 2022
5. Zain had two siblings.
Zain is survived by his parents, as well as his two sisters. Satya and Anu said in a 2017 interview that they “have extreme controlled chaos in our house.” Satya went on to talk about Zain. “After Zain, things started to change for me. It has had a profound impact on how I think, lead and relate to people,” the dad of three said.