Real Estate Mogul Who Publicized Shuttleworth’s Space Tourism Trip Dies

Barak Geffen, a prominent South African real estate mogul who served as project manager for Mark Shuttleworth’s space tourism flight in 2002, has died in Johannesburg at the age of 35.

Geffen was a member of a prominent real estate dynasty. He was the son of Lew Geffen, co-owner of Sotheby’s International Realty South Africa, and grandson of Aida Geffen of Aida Properties. Barak Geffen was an executive director and co-owner of Sothby’s South African division. He oversaw all marketing, advertising and public relations initiatives for the company in South Africa.

In 2001-2002, he served as project manager for Shuttleworth’s space tourism flight to the International Space Station. Geffen managed publicity and marketing and served as spokesman for the billionaire  software developer, who flew to the station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in April 2002.

The Times reports that Geffen had stepped down from an active role at Sotheby’s about two years ago due to stress. “Barak is believed to have taken an overdose at his father’s Johannesburg home yesterday,” the newspaper reported on Sept. 7.

His profile on the Sotheby’s website, Geffen had been “an instrumental part of the executive team in securing the Sotheby’s International Realty® master-license for South Africa, as well as the nationwide rollout of the brand.”