Aleksey Vayner, the Yale graduate who garnered the internet's mistrust for a video résumé he made called Impossible Is Nothing, has died at the age of 29.
According to IvyGate, the website that first reported on his fabrications in 2006, a spokesman for the New York Medical Examiner's office said the cause of death was pending investigation. A Facebook posting by a family member indicated that he passed away on January 19 at a hospital in New York.
Vayner, a driven athlete and entrepreneur, had become synonymous with the perils of unintended internet fame. He had emigrated from Uzbekistan and settled in New York City at a young age with his mother, and after attending Yale, married and had been living in New York City. He had started his own company, dabbled in finance, philanthropy, and internet marketing. Last year, he reportedly changed his name to Alex Stone.
His fiasco began in 2006 with Impossible Is Nothing, a video he had made as a senior at Yale and then sent to investment banks as part of a job application. Peppered with inspirational quotes, the video may have been the "world's greatest" resume, quipped Ben McGrath, depicting him as a super-human Renaissance Man: He was a tennis and skiing star, an expert ballroom dancer, capable of bench-pressing nearly 500 pounds, and slicing bricks with his fist.
But someone at one of the banks leaked the video online. The internet laughed hard, and harder. Once it went viral, Vayner became the target of endless barbs, parodies (including one by Michael Cera), and even death threats. When I met him a few years later, he said the backlash had been surprising, humbling, and deeply hurtful.