Who was Jake Brewer? White House, tech world remember 'a brilliant mind'

A White House staffer who worked in science and technology was killed in a bike accident Saturday, leaving behind a young family. 

Andrew Harnik/AP/File
The Obama administration and the tech community took to the Internet on Sunday to remember White House technology advisor Jake Brewer, who was killed during a charity bike race on Saturday afternoon.

A White House advisor friends described as an optimist and renaissance man died Saturday, and friends in the tech world have left tributes and donations for his young family.

Jacob – known as "Jake" – Brewer was a White House staffer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy and had previously worked as a director at Change.org.

The "tragic loss" was mourned by President Obama, who released a White House statement: "Simply put, Jake was one of the best. Armed with a brilliant mind, a big heart, and an insatiable desire to give back, Jake devoted his life to empowering people and making government work better for them."

Mr. Brewer was riding in the 160-mile Ride to Cure Cancer bike race when he lost control of the bike on a curve. His bike hit an ongoing car, and he was killed, but his family asked that the race continue as planned, reports The Washington Post.

He was known for being a "connector" who brought people together, both through virtual networks as a tech guy and as a fierce and indiscriminate friend, reports Politico. 

His wife, Mary Katharine Ham, is an editor at Hot Air and a Fox News analyst. The couple have a two-year-old daughter, Georgia, and Ms. Ham is seven months pregnant. 

His wife said their marriage worked despite stark political differences. "We were together because we believed everyone was so much more than that," she said, according to Politico.

Brewer's friend and colleague at the Sunlight Foundation, Clay Johnson wrote a Facebook post with a tribute to Brewer's work. "Of course Jake Brewer died riding a bicycle fighting somebody else’s cancer… Whether it was the cancer of corruption or pollution or the cancer of apathy, or the cancer of actual cancer that kills you."

Ham posted an Instagram tribute to her husband, noting his devotion as a father and love of photography. "I lost part of my heart and the father of my sweet babies. I don't have to tell most of you how wonderful he was. It was self-evident. His life was his testimony, and it was powerful and tender and fierce, with an ever-present twinkle in the eye."

We lost our Jake yesterday, and I lost part of my heart and the father of my sweet babies. I don't have to tell most of you how wonderful he was. It was self-evident. His life was his testimony, and it was powerful and tender and fierce, with an ever-present twinkle in the eye. I will miss him forever, even more than I can know right now. No arms can be her father's, but my daughter is surrounded by her very favorite people and all the hugs she could imagine. This will change us, but with prayer and love and the strength that is their companion, we can hope our heartache is not in vain-- that it will change us and the world in beautiful ways, just as he did. If that sounds too optimistic at this time, it's because it is. But there was no thought too optimistic for Jake, so take it and run with it. I will strive and pray not to feel I was cheated of many years with him, but cherish the gift of the years I had. In a life where nothing is guaranteed, Jake made the absolute, ever-lovin' most of his time with all of us. This is a family picture we took a couple weeks ago. It was taken because Jake, as always, was ready with a camera and his immense talent. All four members of our little, growing family are in it. I can never be without him because these babies are half him. They are made of some of the strongest, kindest stuff God had to offer this world. Please pray that he can see us and we'll all make him proud. God, I love him. Psalm 34:18, Philippians 1:3

A photo posted by Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammertime) on

A GoFundMe memorial campaign to help pay for the education of Brewer's daughter and the baby on the way has already raised more than $262,000 out of $200,000 requested.

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