Samasource CEO Leila Janah dead at age 37 after losing battle to a rare form of cancer

Caption : Leila Janah

Leila Janah, the founder and CEO of Samasource and LXMI, passed away on Friday, January 24, at the age of 37. She was suffering from epithelioid sarcoma, a rare form of cancer in soft tissue. Here’s a Leila Janah wiki to help you know more about this inspirational entrepreneur gone too soon. 

Leila Janah was born to an Indian-immigrant family

Janah was born in October 1982 in upstate New York to an Indian-immigrant family. The family relocated to San Pedro, California, when she was a young kid. 

In 2017, During an interview with the New York Times, Janah described her parents as “liberal intellectuals who came to the U.S.A. with nothing.” Her blog post from February 2017 reveals that her grandmother was Christiane Zeebroek, a Belgian woman, who came to Calcutta, India, in 1948. Christiane met Janah’s grandfather Ashis Janah in Calcutta and together they started India’s first ceramic studio. 

leila janah parents

Janah’s mother, Martine, was born in Calcutta in 1955. Martine went to the U.S.A. in the summer of 1978 after accepting the proposal of James Joyce, a structural engineer whom she met in Bombay. They later got married as a courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Janah and her brother began school in Tucson, Arizona. The two siblings had a very difficult time in school as they were mercilessly bullied by other students. Thankfully, they received a lot of support from their teachers. They were bright students and eventually, they went to Harvard and Stanford, already holding down jobs to support themselves financially. 

Janah received her bachelor’s degree in African Development Studies from Harvard University in 2005. 

Leila Janah revealed her cancer diagnosis in April 2019

In March 2019, Janah shared a post on Facebook talking about her health condition. She revealed that she had been going through surgeries for two different sicknesses.

Not long after, in April 2019, she took to Facebook to reveal her cancer diagnosis. She wrote, I recently learned I have a rare but treatable form of cancer: epithelioid sarcoma. I decided to share it publicly because I have learned, in the course of building Samasource and LXMI, that the consistent support of friends and community is a powerful tool in the face of many seemingly impossible obstacles.”

She assured everyone that despite the diagnosis, she would continue to serve her companies - Samasource and LXMI - while accommodating with treatment and healing. 

“This was a challenging diagnosis for me to handle emotionally. My partner and I were in the midst of planning a wedding,” she wrote. Leila got engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Tassilo Festetics in October 2018. Festetics is the vice president of Global Solutions at Anheuser Busch. 

The statement from Samasource announcing Janah’s death stated that she was survived by Tassilo and their daughter. Their daughter’s name has not been revealed but Janah has shared a few photos of her on Facebook and Instagram.

Samasource wrote in a statement, “We are saddened to announce that Leila Janah, Samasource Founder and CEO, passed away due to complications from Epithelioid Sarcoma. Her commitment to creating a better world was unparalleled. We will miss her everyday.”

Our hearts go out to the grieving family and friends of Leila Janah.

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