A married father of three daughters, Salvatierra had worked at PayPal as vice president for customer advocacy and operational excellence. He had also previously served as vice president and CFO at Skype, which was previously owned by eBay Inc.
Salvatierra had spent 14 years at the three companies and had served as the first vice president for site management and fraud prevention at eBay, which owns PayPal, according to eBay CEO John Donahoe.
Salvatierra had lived in Palo Alto with his wife, Meredith Ackley, and their daughters, aged 3, 8 and 10. His family released a statement Monday, March 12, characterizing his death as a lost battle against a mental illness. Salvatierra was diagnosed last summer with bipolar II disorder and depression, according to the statement.
Salvatierra and Ackley had been working with health care professionals for the past eight months to deal with his mental illnesses, the family said.
"In the end, he lost his fight with this debilitating disease," the family wrote in the statement.
The Salvatierra-Ackley family noted in the statement that it decided to be forthcoming about Salvatierra's illness "to support others who are suffering, and also to help abolish the stigma associated with mental illness."
Salvatierra was described by Donahoe in the email as "one of our longest serving and most loyal employees." Salvatierra and Ackley had moved from New York City to California in 1998 so that he could attend Stanford Graduate School of Business. He deferred his admission to join eBay, according to the family.
Donahoe praised Salvatierra in the email for having performed every role he held at eBay "with skill and unmatched dedication." One of Salvatierra's many gifts included an "ability to bring out the best in all of us and compel his colleagues to be better employees and better people," Donahoe wrote.
"Eric was one of those unique and special colleagues who was loved and admired by all," he wrote.
In his free time, Salvatierra enjoyed snowboarding, karaoke and deejaying, according to Donahoe.
"For all of us who had the privilege of knowing and working with Eric, we will remember and miss his wit, intelligence, and joy of life both professionally and personally," Donahoe wrote. "Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with Meredith and the girls."
The Friday collision occurred at about 9:30 a.m. at the tracks near Ravenswood Avenue, according to Caltrain. Salvatierra was reportedly on the tracks when a northbound train struck him. People at the scene commented that he had been seen with a silver road bike and helmet.
This was the fourth death on the Caltrain right-of-way this year, according to Caltrain. There were 16 fatalities in 2011.
Agency spokeswoman Christine Dunn said the incident remains under investigation.
In his email, Donahoe wrote that Salvatierra's "debilitating mental illness" had prompted him to take a leave of absence last year.
The email also noted that in recent months Salvatierra and Ackley found support through the resources of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a nonprofit that provides education on mental-health issues, and that the family is now receiving support from Kara, a Palo Alto-based organization that counsels people during times of grief. Donahoe said the company would make contributions to both organizations in Salvatierra's memory.
The Salvatierra-Ackley family has asked that donations be given in Eric Salvatierra's name to NAMI (www.nami.org) or Kara (www.kara-grief.org).