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After death: a technical guide

When approaching the difficult task of accessing websites and online accounts, dealing with it is divided between two options: having the password or not having the password. 
  • If you have a password - you can get in 
  • If you don't have a password, but have access to an e-mail account, in most of the websites you could click on "I forgot my password" and a link will be sent by e-mail, to create a new password. Once you have created it, you can get into the website / account 
  • If you have neither a password nor access to an e-mail account, the dealings get more complicated, because they involve approaching the online services providers. Some are already set for dealing with death of clients and present clear policies and guidelines in this regard, but some are still grappling with it or have done so until recently. Twitter, for instance, published their policy only in August 2010. 
Another element you'll need to take into consideration is TIME. In certain cases, only a narrow window of time is available through which you could take care of the deceased's digital legacy:

  • On facebook, for instance, at any moment someone might turn his or her profile into a memorial profile (your consent isn't required and you'll find yourselves locked out of the account - even if you have a valid password). Therefore, the first thing I recommend you do is download a copy of the profile's content (for "how to" scroll down, under "Facebook"). 
  • Some of the email services providers might terminate an account which hasn't been used over a certain period of time, depending on their Terms of Use. Therefore I recommend that if you have the means to do so, go into the email account, just to create some activity and prolong the window during which you can make up your mind. 
  • Sometimes you'll have access to accounts only for a limited amount of time: if the deceased passed away while his / her smartphone / tablet / laptop / computer was still logged on, you would still have access through this device to his or her online accounts. But eventually you'll be prompted to re-enter the passwords, and when you can't provide one, you'll be locked out of these accounts. Therefore, I recommend you take advantage of this access while you have it, and set as many new passwords as you can, to ensure you have independent access to the accounts - at least to begin with. Maybe later on you'll decide to close the accounts, or not to go into them, but at least you'll have a choice. 

I know you already have so much to handle after the death of a loved one, and maybe his or her digital legacy doesn't strike you as urgent, but unfortunately, by the time you do get around to dealing with it, it'll be too late, and invaluable, precious data will be permanently lost - in a way which cannot be restored. 

Entrustet used to have a wonderful blog, and in it a "Digital Executor Toolbox" could be found. Unfortunately, when Entrusted was purchased by SecureSafe, the blog went offline, which is a pity. It used to have useful information about how to close online accounts and delete digital assets after the user has passed away. I hope it will go online again. In the meanwhile, I have compiled a list here for your convenience. A click on each link will take you to the relevant page of the online service provider.  

International companies (Israeli companies listed below) 

"Please note: We are unable to provide login information for the account to anyone regardless of his or her relationship to the deceased."


"If an individual has passed away and you need access to the contents of his or her email account, in rare cases we may be able to provide the Gmail account content to an authorized representative of the deceased user. .... Any decision to provide the contents of a deceased user’s email will be made only after a careful review, and the application to obtain email content is a lengthy process. Before you begin, please understand that Google may be unable to provide the Gmail account content...." 

July 2015 update
When you click on the same link, what you get now looks like this: 

Google now offers you to choose between: 
  • Close the account of a deceased user
  • Submit a request for funds from a deceased user's account
  • Obtain data from a deceased user's account
  • Notify Google that a user is deceased 
  • Resolve a potential hijacking of a deceased user's account
  • Make plans for what should happen to my own account 

Between the time I wrote this post as a draft and print-screened this page and the time I published this post, YouTube took their policy offline. Right now there isn't an online policy regarding a deceased YouTube member's account. I've sent YouTube a query about this and will update this post once I have news. 

"The Microsoft Next of Kin process allows for the release of Hotmail contents, including all emails and their attachments, address book, and Messenger contact list, to the next of kin of a deceased or incapacitated account holder and/or closure of the Hotmail account, following a short authentication process. We cannot provide you with the password to the account or change the password on the account, and we cannot transfer ownership of the account to the next of kin. Account contents are released by way of a data DVD which is shipped to you."


"To close the account of a deceased LinkedIn member you'll need to submit a Verification of Death form. Note: This form requires an email address registered to the deceased member's account. Without this important piece of information, we will not be able to address your request." 
This used to be MySpace's policy, but they updated it in July 2012: 
"We will only remove or preserve the profile of a deceased user at the request of the next of kin or at the request of the executor of the estate. Myspace will not allow access or update the log-in information for a profile for any circumstance... However, if you have access to the email account tied to the Myspace profile, you can retrieve the password by clicking". 

"In order to protect the privacy of the deceased user, we cannot provide login information for the account to anyone."

My advice is: if you have access to the Facebook account of your loved one who passed away, the first thing you should do is download a copy of it (General Account Settings > Download a copy). If someone were to notify Facebook that the account owner has passed away, Facebook will block all access to the profile and you will not be able to get in - even if you do have the password. Facebook's policy is controversial: anyone can notify that a person has passed away, not just members of his immediate family. Hence, the spouse / child / parent might suddenly find themselves with the profile turning into a deceased person's profile, without their request. Once a profile is "memorized", as they call it, only friends can see it and locate it in search results see update below, and some of the content disappears while some of it remains - and you have no control over it. Very little information is required in order to report someone as gone: Report a Deceased Person's Profile

The only right reserved to members of his / her immediate family is to ask for the profile to be deleted: How do I submit a special request for a deceased user's account on the site? and then "If you are an immediate family member and would like to request that we remove your loved one's account from the site, click here".  

In February 2014 Facebook changed their policy in two regards: 

  1. Following John Berlin's appeal to see the 'Look Back' video of his deceased son, Jesse Berlin, Facebook now allows members of a deceased user to watch his or her 'Look Back' video. Please note: a request to see a Look Back video of a user who passed away equals a request to memoralize the account, even if this wasn't your intention, so please make sure you understand the consequences of your act before making this request. If you are certain you wish for his or her account to be momoralized, or if the account is already memoralized, you can make the request here. Thank you Damien McCallig for highlighting this point. 
  2. Facebook took this opportunity to also change the privacy settings of memoralized accounts: from now on, the content will remain visible as the owner defined it while he/she was still alive. Meaning: if certain content was made visible publiclicly, it will remain so. If certain content was made visible to friends of friends, it will remain so - unlike what the policy was up until now: that once an account was memoralized, all the content was visible to friends only. 

A word about Facebook's policy of memorializing an account: Of course this is very personal, but I think and feel it is better to keep "running into" my dead brother's profile on Facebook as if he were still alive, than to have his profile declared as a profile of a dead person. I do not wish for certain content out of his profile to disappear, as it will disappear without any of us having a say about what stays and what disappears - it is determined by Facebook's policy only.

Ever since my brother was killed, he has received hundreds of friendship requests, and as far as I can tell, all are by people who realize he is dead. I am puzzled by this: Is it their initiative, or in response to Facebook suggesting him as a possible friend? Is it their way of showing their respect to him? Their way of expressing their sorrow over missing out the opportunity to be his friends while he was still alive? Do they expect their request of friendship to be accepted? Is there a bit of voyeurism in it - to see which content they will be granted access to as friends, that they couldn't see before? How would they feel if "he" will suddenly approve their request, since it will be clear it was not done by him but by a family member?

Since approving a friendship request grants access to certain content which only friends can see, I feel no one has the right or authority to approve friendship requests but the deceased. 

Israeli Companies 

None of the Israeli companies publish their policy regarding death of a client online. I gathered the following information from each one as a service to the readers of this blog. 

Walla! will grant you the password to the mailbox as soon as you follow their clear policy in this regard. Email them at: and ask for a copy of their instructions in English (In a nutshell, you will need to provide both proof of death and proof of your relation to the deceased). You should contact them as soon as you can: an e-mail account that hasn't been used in 3 months might be closed by the company. 

012 Smile 
Unfortunately, there is no point in contacting this company. They will only grant access to the e-mail under court order. Contact your lawyer instead. 

Bezeq International 
You can notify Bezeq International someone has passed away either by phone: *3014 or by chat with a customer service representative. You will only need to supply the ID number and the last four digits of the method of payment of the deceased, and they will give you the e-mail password. You will need to provide a copy of a death certificate, oddly enough, not in order to gain access to the e-mail account, but in order to receive a refund for unused Internet services. 
If you wish to keep the e-mail active, you can do so: the first 6 months for free, and from the 7th months onward by paying 9.90 NIS per month. 

TheMarker Cafe
You can notify TheMarker Cafe by phone 03-5133697 or e-mail, but they will only grant access to the account under court order. 

013 Netvision 
You can notify Netvision by phone: *3013 or by e-mail As soon as you present a copy of the death certificate, ID number and last four digits of method of payment, you will be granted full access to all the services the deceased was subscribed to - including e-mail and cloud backup. This is relevant however only if they had a private account. If they had a business account, only the owner of the company can contact Netvision, or the person registered at Netvision as the contact person for the company the deceased person worked for.   

You will have to have a Hebrew speaking person next to you, as Tapuz can only be contacted by a Hebrew form in their website. They will only assist you in gaining access to the account if you have access to the e-mail address that the person who passed away registered with. If you don't, they will assist you only if there is a legal cause for it, or under court order. 

Isra-Blog is part of Nana10 and can be notified about a death of a blogger by e-mail: don't have a consistent policy: in some cases, the blog will be taken offline. In other cases, a family member will be granted access to it - depending, among other factors, on the family wishes. 

You can contact Nana10 by e-mail, but access to the mailbox will only be granted under court order. 

What is so frustrating about the long, complex dealings with the various Internet providers and their different policies - which includes heartache and helplessness - is that the people left behind after the death could have easily been spared all that - if only the deceased had left their usernames and passwords behind. They could have accessed their accounts without the provider ever knowing the user was dead. Several products (some of them for free) offer this exact service: keeping track of websites, user names and passwords, along with instructions of who may access what, are detailed in this post: Managing Your Digital Legacy

Before death: leaving messages behind

One of the services easily found today is preparing in advance messages which will be sent after your death. I wrote about the services Death Switch offer in my 3rd article for ynet. 

"You create e-mail messages, attach files, and specify your recipients, and the messages are automatically emailed after your switch is triggered". 

October 2015 updateDeath Switch has shut down. 

  • A Facebook application by the name if i die "is the first and only Facebook application that enables you to create a video or a text message that will only be published after you die".
  • "Parting Wishes", "Dead Man's Switch" (which is quite similar to "Death Switch" mentioned above), "My Wonderful Life" and "B Celebrated" all offer send private messages for loved ones after we're gone.
  • "Dead Social" focuses on messages to be sent after death via the various social networks. 
  • Social Farewell "enables you to create messages that we will email or post to your social network in the event of your death". 
  • Final Fling offers to "record Wishes, leave last requests... and to leave messages, pass on pics or home movies"
Sites which have been shut down: 
  • "If I die" - "Gives you a way to write notes that will only be delivered if you die". - Don't mix it up with which is still working (the site which got shut down was 
  • "Eternity Message" used to offer not only to send out messages immediately after death, but to send them also in predesignated dates in the future, such as your daughter's sweet 16 Birthday, or your spouse's next milestone birthday (40, 70, etc.). I wonder what happenned to letters stored in the system which were supposed to get sent in a few years from now. 
  • "Great Good Bye" used to offer to send e-mail too, but with the possibility attaching MP3, photos and videos, and having the "Memorial stay online for 20 years". I wonder what happened to accounts that were supposed to be kept for several more years. 
  • "Life Ensured" used to offer to send not only e-mail messages but also blog posts and tweets.
  • And Death Switch has shut down as well. 

I've first seen some of these links at The Digital Beyond and credit and thanks go to Evan Carroll and John Romano for compiling it. 

After death: the difference between dealing with digital assets and other assets

My answer when asked the following question: "What's the difference between, for instance, opening a bedroom drawer of someone who passed away and discovering old love letters, to opening an e-mail account of someone who passed away and dealing with the e-mails in it?" 
  • A person usually has only one bedroom, with clearly visible drawers in it, so the number of drawers needed to go through can be known in advance. The space in each drawer is limited, so the approximate time needed to go through it all could be estimated. Hidden compartments are usually found only in the movies. Even if one of these drawers is locked, the key could probably be located among his belongings, or the drawer could be broken into quite easily. If not, a locksmith could be called, who could open it without being exposed to the content in it. 
  • A person could have several e-mail accounts, which will not be all clearly visible or known to you. Even if you do know of them, you will not necessarily have the passwords to access all of them. In order to break into them, a pro might be needed (say, a computer technician), which means a stranger will gain access to something very private and personal. Another possibility is that you'll find yourself at the mercy of the various e-mail providers and their policy in this matter. The space of each e-mail account could be vast - bordering on limitless - you could find yourselves faced with thousands of e-mails in each one of them. (More information about the various policies can be found in my 2nd article for ynet and in my posts: Technical guide, The Legal Aspect and The Israeli Angle.) 

  • Love letters could be addressed to or from an anonymous person, whom you will not be able to identify nor contact. 
  • In e-mails, the to / from fields are visible.
  • If the bedroom drawers are at the home of the deceased person, chances are there won't be any legal debate regarding whom the content of the drawers belongs to: the deceased, and therefore, you, as their rightful successor. Worst case scenario, you might have to deal with other family members who might want some of the letters you came across inside these drawers. 
  • When we're talking about the content inside e-mails, if it's a web-based e-mail service, you might find yourselves having to prove ownership of that e-mail account and having the right to access it, and the policy of the e-mail provider might not be in line with how you feel about it. In such a difficult, sensitive time, you might find yourself dealing with outsiders regarding an issue you see as very personal, an issue you feel should have been dealt with inside the family's inner circle only. (More information in my Legal Aspect and Technical Guide posts). 
  • In the past, people (especially men) used to have a hidden stash of porn tapes / magazines in their closet or under their bed. If they had a spouse, their spouse probably knew about this private collection and therefore, could throw it away before other family members entered the home of the deceased. If he or she didn't have a spouse, a friend or a family member would have come across this horde and had to deal with a moment of awkwardness. 
  • Today, there's a pretty good chance you won't come across any printed porn magazines or porn video tapes, but you will have to deal with finding porn on the computer. There are several online guides about how to both hide the computer porn and how to get rid of it, but if the deceased didn't get a chance to learn how to do the former, you might find yourselves doing the latter.
  • Usually, a normative person has a single physical identity and a certain amount of physical assets. When you go over it after they pass away, you go through the contents of a room, an apartment or a house, sometimes also through a shed or a garage or a storeroom, but even if they used to hoard many objects, the sum of all his physical assets is limited. 
  • A person could have multiple online personas and still be a normative person. If they were active online, they could have left behind many digital and online assets which you will find difficult to follow, let alone manage. Think of the trail of digital breadcrumbs we leave behind, on top of our e-mail accounts: Picasa, Flickr, YouTube, Google Plus, Foursquare, forums, blogs, Twitter, Linkedin, Myspace... The time you'll need just to go through it all, let alone manage it (save? delete? backup?), will probably take a lot longer than going through any crowded storage room.
  • Most normative people, who aren't compulsive hoarders, sort their possessions and throw away some of their physical assets every once in a while. We cherish certain items of course, maintain a certain collection or keep an artifact for nostalgic reasons, but during spring cleaning (or Passover cleaning), or when moving to a new apartment, most people will sort their physical possessions and throw away those they no longer need. Upon entering their home, we'll find mostly stuff that was relevant to the later / latest time of their life. 
  • Since virtual and digital possessions do not require a physical storing space, a lot of people never get around to sort or go through it, let alone delete some of it. We might find ourselves facing emails dating back to 2004, for example, which aren't relevant to any one any more, but were not deleted. (And thank you Shiri Yeshua for emphasizing this). 

Before death: commemorating yourselves and leaving instructions behind

Several websites already offer ways to creating your own commemoration and / or leaving instructions behind, to be filled after your death: 
  • "B Celebrated" - "Create your autobiographical legacy website. Share your story with your words, images and audio. Automatically email your community when you pass away.  Leave a permanent site where your friends and family will celebrate your life."
  • "Parting Wishes" - "Document your funeral wishes and organ donation preferences. Specify your health care wishes in case you are ever unable to communicate. Create a web page about your life which only goes online after you pass away."
  • "After Steps" - "Estate planning, financial planning, funeral planning and legacy planning": from organ donations (or not) to how to best take care of your pets.
  • The iPhone application "Legacy Organiser" - "Major events, private moments, memoirs, photos or songs that have been of great significance throughout your life can now be conveniently stored in one place. Should you wish, you can also share information with friends and family through Facebook. Create your Life Album by choosing photographs that reflect your life. Compile the Soundtrack of your Life by selecting songs that have captured the fun, the laughter, and the tears. Reflect on your life and record details of life affirming occasions, experiences and memories that have meant so much to you in Events. Plan ahead and put together your own Bucket List so you have a complete list of the goals and dreams you have yet to achieve. Legacy Organiser enables you to record important information relating to your death including your final intentions and wishes for all aspects of your farewell, your funeral arrangements, and your digital estate. Create and take control of your own legacy, of who you are and how you want to be remembered."
  • As written in "My Wonderful Life", "You only get one chance to make a last impression" - "Make funeral plans. Write your obituary. Design your own headstone. Take care of your pets".
  • The project "Remembered Voices, which I personally found extremely moving, allows you to record your voice and enter it to their voice library. We can leave behind what we sounded like, how we laughed, how we phrased our sentences. We can leave behind a bedtime story or a lullaby for our children, or leave behind our life story told in our own voice.
  • Recollect offers something a bit different: "We archive everything you do online". This websites offers to archive pictures, tweets, and check-ins from various accounts across the internet, back it up and allow you to download it anytime, and allows you to search among tweets, Foursquare check-ins, Instagrams and Flickr photos, at the same time. While this could be good for you, it could be invaluable to your heirs. 
  • GEN-ARC (which acquired Scangaroo) "provides key features and functionality that are critical to permanently preserve the priceless content in your family archive (your “GEN-ARC™”) and ensuring it remains viewable by forward generations". 
  • Final Fling allows you to "record Wishes, start a bucketlist, leave last requests, pick funeral music, make a Will, appoint a trusted Keyholder"..."A Treasure Trove for digital legacies: tell your story, leave messages, pass on pics or home movies"... "A Scrapbook to share tributes, ideas, inspiration for fitting ends".
Some of these sites were shut down: 
  • "1000 memories" - "Organize, share and discover the old photos and memories of your family and friends. We help bring the albums, scrapbooks, and photo-filled shoeboxes of our lives out of the closet and into an online, shareable space where they can be remembered and celebrated, together in one place." October 2012 update: the website was acquired by and was later shut down.  
  • Memolane shut down at February 2013. 

I have found many of these links at The Digital Beyond and credit and thanks go to Evan Carroll and John Romano for compiling it. 

After death: virtual grief and commemoration

Since the Internet has no geographical boundaries, it is possible that many of the people who love us and interact with us through social media do not live in the same area as we do, and maybe not even in the same state or continent. Since grief knows no borders either, virtual commemoration is as wide as the world: 
  • "Much Loved", the English registered charity, "...helps you express your feelings about your loved one in words, pictures, music and video. It can also help all those affected by the loss to come together, sharing memories and supporting each other". 

  • "" - "An innovative media company that collaborates with more than 800 newspapers in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand to provide ways for readers to express condolences and share remembrances of loved ones."
  • Parting Wishes offers online memorial - "A free service which allows you to create a web page as a tribute to anyone who was important to you. Include photos, thoughts, memories, accomplishments, or anything else you'd like them to be remembered by. You can add text, graphics, and even audio and video. "
  • The non-profit association "Gone Too Soon - "enables anyone to create a free online tribute for a much loved relative or friend who has passed away".
  • "Journal Of Llife", "Memorial Matters" and "Remembered" and  "Aley Shalechet", an Israeli funeral home, in its website "Personal Memorials", all offer online commemoration which could be contributed to by friends and family from around the world. 
A quote from what Shimon Shababo said, standing over the grave of his 13 and a half years old son, Liron, who died of cancer on July 4th 2012 and was buried on July 5th 2012 (quoted here with the family's consent, of course): 
"Yesterday I looked at your Facebook timeline and read all the posts by your many friends. I was moved to tears, knowing how much you were loved and how much you will be missed..." Facebook is becoming an "official" way to grieve and commemorate online.   
Some of these sites seem to no longer be working: 
  • "Sympathy Tree" - "...We realized that the internet can be an important part of the ongoing grieving and healing process. When people gather at a funeral or a memorial service, they see friends and relatives they have not seen in a while. Together they pay tribute, share stories and memories, and comfort one another. It’s often a very cathartic and reflective experience. We realized that this experience could be extended beyond the funeral events by creating a virtual place online where people can come together to grieve, heal, and comfort each other for generations to come."
  • "Memorial Gardens"

I have found some of these links at The Digital Beyond and credit and thanks go to Evan Carroll and John Romano for compiling it. 

Before death: Managing your Digital Legacy / Assets / Estate

I'm a little (OK, a lot) behind on updates in several posts in the blog. This is one of them. Sorry about that, readers: I hope to catch up soon. 


Quire a few companies now offer Internet-based solutions, due to the rising awareness of the importance of managing digital and online assets. The services offered by Legacy Locker, Data Inherit and Entrustet were reviewed in my 3rd ynet article in July 2011. 
In April 2012 Entrustet was purchased by SecureSafe, formerly known as Data Inherit, becoming one of the leading - and bigger - companies. 
UpdatePasswordBox acquired Legacy Locker in November 2013. They now offer a digital life management solution for both before and after death. Update: Intel acquired PasswordBox in December 2014.   

I highly recommend choosing the company and service which suit you best and start using their services. By doing so, you will ease what your loved ones will go through after your death. This is also your way of guaranteeing you will control who gets access to what - and what gets deleted before anyone gains access to it. You will also spare them the part of wondering if they should access your digital and online assets or not and if yes, how. 

A very good infographic by the Australian company Life Insurance Finder, detailing what actions are recommend to be taken and in which order, can be found here: step by step expert guide to protect yourself online before you die

May 2013 update: Google are the first company to offer an in-house solution - I wrote a separate post about it. 

Legacy Locker
"A safe, secure repository for your vital digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of loss, death, or disability."

"Probably without considering it, you have acquired and created numerous, significant digital assets, and traditional wills and trusts don't sufficiently address, manage or protect them. Entrustet provides the tools and resources to create a free, secure list of your digital assets, nominate heirs, specify a Digital Executor and decide which assets to transfer or delete after you pass away".
Entrustet was purchased by SecureSafe in April 2012. 

Data Inherit 
"With DataInherit, you can easily assign beneficiaries to your digital assets in the event that something should happen to you. This will preserve your digital assets for you, your family or your partners". Data Inherit became SecureSafe


Companies who offer similar services are: 
As this market keeps changing (as seen with the merges and acquisitions above), some websites have been shut down and are no longer available: 

I do not presume to keep a comprehensive list of all companies offering these services. The Digital Beyond do a great job of doing just that (among other things). 

After death: caution and attention

Since, hopefully, you do not wish to cause unnecessary pain to the people the deceased was in online contact with, make sure you know how the online service you are about to go into works - before you go into it. If you're not sure how this service or website works, ask for assistance from someone who does. 

For instance, if you go into an e-mail account of someone who is no longer alive, and this e-mail service also has a chat or a messenger service, such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, the first thing you need to do is go offline. Otherwise, you might cause their friends heartache - or a heart attack - by seeing them seemingly online and available for chat. 

Same word of caution about Facebook: if you choose to go into the profile of the deceased, the first thing you should do is make sure your chat status is offline 

If you start using a computer previously owned by the deceased, first thing to do is log out of every single web site they used to be active in, prior to your own use of the computer. If you don't, in a momentary lack of attention, you might enter a forum you're a member of, wishing to post a note under your own username, only to find out a minute too late that by mistake, you published under their username instead of yours - and caused that heartache - or heart attack - after all. 

Tupac performs "live" onstage - after his death

In the 2012 Coachella Festival, the audience got to "see" Tupac, killed in 1996, "perform" live on stage, solo and in a duet with Snoop Dogg, who is still alive. 

The "live performance" was made possible thanks to an impressive 3D hologram. Their choice - not to let his image walk off stage like the rest of the performers, thus maintaining the illusion that he's still alive for a while longer, but to have his image disintegrate on stage in front of the audience - is a choice I find rattling. 

You can read more about it here, where they chose to see this as nothing less than a resurrection. 

Thank you Matan Melamed for bringing this to my attention. 

An interview with the gamer Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs

As part of my research, I came across Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacob's press release about "bringing his wife back from the dead" as an avater in a game, and asked for an interview. Parts of the interview were used in an article I wrote that was published only in Hebrew, so here is the full interview: 

From what I saw in your “I am my avatar” docudrama on YouTube, you live a very intense, hectic life: Do you still have the time or inclination to play? 
I am married to an artist, we have 3 kids and I have a Studio, so yes it's hectic, I dont have time to play hours on end, but I love to log in and play casually. 

Since you became a developer and can’t play inside your own creations, what do you play, if you do?
I really definitely don't have time to play other games, most games are so immersive these days that I really don't want to even get started. Basically, I have played at not being able to play by placing my avatar in Prison... But Entropia Universe is expanding into a Space Game next week, that I am not directly involved in developing, so I plan to escape Jail and NEVERDIE will become a Space Pirate.

What does it mean for you, to “become your avatar”?
Becoming your avatar means owning your Virtual Altar Ego, it means accepting you can change your life via your avatar, see it as representation and reflection of you, as your vehicle in another reality.. I see ROCKtropia as much more than a game, but to tap into that, one has to believe in your avatar... All of this stems from my background as an actor: to deliver a great performance you have to believe that you are your character you have to experience the moments truthfully, Virtual Reality is professional gaming Like pro basketball or professional acting, the stakes are high, life changing, life affirming, this is the way I view ROCKtropia and the Entropia Universe platform. The relationships you establish are real, the consequences of your actions, the rewards, the losses are all real, so the best way to position yourself at the outset is to become your avatar, that way you will get the most out of it.

I’m sorry to be bringing up memories which might be painful to you, but if you could be so kind as to tell me a bit about Tina, your relationship in the virtual world and outside it, her relationship with virtual worlds, and how her life came to an end?
Tina was an incredibly warm and strong willed person, she was also a picture of strength, a perfect blend of Samoan warrior and Polynesian princess, she was born in Hawaii, but grew up in Portland Oregon, one of five girls, with such a large family they were pretty poor and very hard working and practical.
Tina's job when she graduated high school was as a heavy vehicle driver for the State, she worked as a road builder, she always nurtured dreams of being a singer, but she was painfully shy and didn't receive much encouragement at home. She won a few beauty contests and female body building contests and used the money to move to Miami in the early 1990's. She dated a doctor and studied massage and opened a theraputic massage business on South Beach, where her clients included the top modelling agencies and among others Mickey Rourke who was training for his comeback as a Boxer.
Because of her striking beauty, she inevitably started to get modeling jobs and running her own business gave her the confidence to pursue acting. She landed a few roles in independent movies, which in turn inspired her to move to Hollywood to give her a career a real shot. She was not particularly geared for the politics of Hollywood, particularly the whole casting couch thing, and she started gravitating more towards music, which is when we met at the end of 1998. She was actually doing massage on Venice boardwalk. We had a son, Taliesin, who was born in Nov '99 and after 9/11 things were very quiet for us in LA so on an impulse we moved to Miami, where I was able to get a movie off the ground, "Hey DJ", in which Tina was the co-star and where she could contribute to the soundtrack. This gave her a bona fide global dance hit record called "To The Club" by Spankox.
From the time I first met her I was playing in MMO's Ultima online and Everquest and I wrote a movie about NEVERDIE in December 2000. In the beginning Tina didn't play too much, but when we moved to Miami and I was playing inside Entropia Universe as NEVERDIE, we had two computers and she enjoyed creating her avatar and dressing her up and then exploring the world and then her warrior side kicked in and she started playing a lot. It was the only game she ever played, in particular because my avatar was so strong she loved hunting with new players, so If I was too busy she would hunt with noobs. I was so amazed by her playing I wrote a song about her called Gamer Chick, there is a music video, where you can see our original Avatars playing together...

Also, there is a scene in Hey DJ the movie, where she is playing her avatar. We were both really passionate about it, and she believed like me that it was going to be huge.

How did you come up with the idea to bring Island Girl’s avatar back?
Well, since I was banned from Logging in her Avatar into Entropia, because other players felt as if they were seeing a Ghost. I was feeling unsatisfied. Also, I was not able to build a website for Tina that I felt did her justice.. So when I was developing the Virtual World Next Island, which was a polynesian inspired tropical paradise, it was just a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to Tina to keep her spirit alive... Tina had many healers in her Samoan family and had she lived she would have loved to open a Spa in Samoa, so it was really just an inspiration. During her last year of life she had worked on a website, but it never came to fruition, so I really felt as if there was something I still needed to do.

How did you create Island Girl’s avatar? Was it stored in MindArk’s memory banks or have you built it from scratch?
Island Girl's avatar still exists, but the Avatar Creation system has changed since the time she was playing so it doesn't exactly look the same. So I decided to base the Avatar on real life pictures from a photo session she did for her record "Island Girl".

Were you always fascinated with life / death / afterlife / immortality, and is this why you chose your avatar to be named “NEVERDIE”?
Yes, I grew up on the Greek Myths and have always believed in Destiny and aspired to heroics and to embark upon great quests... When I created NEVERDIE the Avatar, I wanted him to be an iconic hero. In my original NEVERDIE screenplay, NEVERDIE becomes trapped in the virtual world even after his body is in a coma, I love the idea that we can utilize our avatars to skip out on our bodies when they die.

Do you see life after death as avatars as something humanity should be hoping for as new means of coping with loss and grief?
Not necessarily as a way to cope with loss and grief. I think that if someone who dies has an avatar in a virtual world, the family members are going to feel an attachment to the avatar, particularly if the person was attached to their avatar. In the same way that one might treasure a loved one's diaries or want to keep a Facebook page, I think an avatar may be something the family feel connected with if they were prior to the passing. If not, then the avatar wouldn't mean much to a family member...

What I do think is that humanity might want to consider is that avatars may be a vehicle for us to transcend the Biological Body, according to Ray Kurzweil, science is really moving in this direction, and I just think that it's super fun and exciting. To me all things in this world are part of nature, atoms, cells, pixels, etc.. so one thing is not better than another in my mind. If a prosthetic leg enables a man to walk, that's super. If an electronic earpiece enables you to hear, wear it! If a digital body enables your mind to survive the death of your body, that's brilliant. And since so many people already now spend so much time in virtual worlds its obvious we as humanity would embrace it very quickly, just like we have so quickly embraced cyberspace and the Internet.

Do you see bringing Tina’s avatar back as a way of dealing with your loss, or as a way of running away from the pain of losing her?
Tina was an artist. She wanted her music, her words, her image to carry on, she strove for that. I think many of us strive for immortality in some way or another, through our art or our children or our contributions to our communities or the world. Tina died young without having become a big star, that she perhaps could have been. I feel mostly as if I am honoring her spirit. I deal with my loss by clinging to the belief that the human spirit is immortal and not fearing death. I deal with the pain by embracing life and loving and expanding my family, in no way do I see remembering Tina as the same as not letting go.

Do you envision a futuristic virtual world populated by “ghosts” – avatars of people who have passed away, and among them avatars of living people?
Well, perhaps we will see more of this, but they don't have to be treated as ghosts, they can be treated as characters, for example, if I chose to create a virtual Aristotle, we wouldn't so much see him as a ghost, but for what he was, he would be alive again as an interactive character in.... I don't necessarily think that it is going to catch on, that people will start making avatars of their lost loved ones.
As I said, I think people will start making avatars for themselves so they have a place to retreat to when their biological bodies are done... Then I can see a world where some avatars belong to people whose bodies are dead and some belong to people who are living. It may sound creepy to some, but I would pick that option before I would pick death. I think also that it's very creative and virtual worlds are just going to become more and more amazing and lifelike. Already you can live out incredible fantasy professions inside a virtual World, I think it will be a great future... And maybe one day we will be able to build new Physical Bodies so we can step back out of the Virtual World into this realm.

When I read you gave Island Girl a reviving power on Next Island, I was very moved
Is this a power you wish you had yourself, bringing people back from the dead? Or stopping them from dying in the first place?
Yes, If I continue to be successful in the Virtual World I would like to invest in the research to make these ideas of uploading your mind and living consciousness into an avatar a possibility

What did you think about the movie ‘Avatar’? Is this how you would like life to be in the future - people and avatars living side by side?
Yes, absolutely and just like in the movie, you could become your avatar, when Your real body dies. That movie was such a big hit Cameron, obviously hit a nerve..  Vampires are also a Huge thing in pop culture I do think our society is enamored with the concept of immortality.

Is this a service you wish you could offer others – creating avatars for their lost loved ones?
I don't see this as a business for me, I'm more interested in creating the Virtual Worlds themselves and stories aimed a wide audience rather than just for individual families. I think the job of creating avatars for loved ones,  is best left to the families.. It's possible in the future that tools for this could be created for the End user and no doubt people could find creative uses for it like I have... For example, someone might want to Create Quests for their family Members in order to become a beneficiary of their will... (That might be interesting) Or someone who is dying Young might want to leave an Avatar for their children to interact with as they grown up, Vs say perhaps recording Video messages or writing a series of post dated letters. Of course if someone approached me with something really Creative like they wanted to Create a Quest Avatar for our Virtual world inspired by one of their loved ones and there was a Universal message and possible storyline and value for the communtiy as a whole, It could be interesting, but its a lot of work and expensive to do at that level.

When you build a computer controlled character, an avatar persona, how much can you “pour” into it to resemble the person?
From a Physical perspective, you can get a very close resemblance. the more time you spend on it the better.

You wrote in your press release: “virtual reality will be the means by which humanity transcends death itself”, and “virtual reality is the place where we can transcend death, perhaps not on a literal level right now, but very possibly in the future” – could you elaborate, please?
I think I have already touched on this, I do believe we will choose to switch our consciousness into our avatars before our Physical bodies die... The is a Great book called "The Singularity is near" by Ray Kurzweil that explains very well, why and how this will become a reality in the near future.

There's also a famous expression "you can't take it with you" but Virtual Reality changes that. ROCKtropia for example uses a real cash Economy and also an Avatar Skill system so, your avatar can have real money and real assets in the Virtual world that enable it to have greater freedom, access and resources, also the Avatar itself has skills that enable it to specialize and excell and do a wide variety of things...  So essentially you can transfer your real world wealth to the Virtual World and Gain significant benefit from it, you can also transfer it back out again.. So for Example, suppose I was dying and wanted to become my avatar, I could invest all my money in the virtual World and into my avatar Skills, then i could let my human Body die, and I could manage my wealth from within the virtual World and still support my family in the real world while continuing to enjoy my wealth in my virtual afterlife. Cheeky huh?

How does your wife, Cheri, feel about you “resurrecting” your former fiancee back from the dead by bringing Tina’s avatar back to life?
As time has gone on, Cheri feels very secure in our relationship and is not in any way concerned that I have not let go of the past. As Taliesin grows up and accomplishes things, Cheri finds herself talking to Tina sometimes and imagining the joy Tina would feel seeing Taliesin.. She feels as blessed as I do and knows Tina would be happy. She also accepts that I'm a little whacky.

How did your son and Tina’s parents feel about the resurrection of her avatar?
Taliesin really likes it and wants to write story lines and quests that explore her Samoan heritage. Tina's mom was very fond of playing with Tina in the virtual world and she instantly knew that Tina would love this.

Have you taken them on a virtual tour inside the virtual world to meet Island Girl?
Not yet... I need to make a trip to Oregon for that or buy them a new computer.. They still have an avatar.. I think i would prefer however, to work on the story lines and Quests first, to make the experience even more amazing for them

How do you think the digital era has changed, is changing and will change the way we deal with death, loss, grief? 
Without Question we have to deal with the remnants of our lost loved ones lives on the internet, through facebook and other social sites, it is another community we have to deal with as we grieve... That was the strangest thing for me, is that I had to deal with Our Friends in RL and then our friends in the Virtual World, the ones in the Virtual were even more expressive and perhaps touched me deeper.

The way we remember those who have passed away?
No question a Digital memorial has far greater potential than a Headstone, statue or Mausoleum, I think we can anticipate some really interesting solutions for the future. I mean we are already using the Cloud to store things, I have lost some of Tina's pictures on Hard Drives that have died, i would prefer to archive digital memories in a more secure environment and be able to access them in a very user friendly manner.

Have you looked into the legal possibilities of transferring your digital and virtual assets?

Do you have a will that includes these assets?
Yes, these are my most valuable assets.

Since you are a Planet Partner of MindArk, I assume you know what their policy is in this regard. 
How do you feel about it? (“Your Entropia Universe Account will be disposable by Your legal successors by inheritance…”)
 If anything were to happen to you, would you wish for your wife or children to maintain your avatar?
In the Same Way that the Walt Disney Company takes care of Mickey Mouse I would hope my family will take care of NEVERDIE, unless of course I am able to live to see the day when i can transfer my living mind to my Avatar, in which case I will be able to take care of myself, I think given that my name is NEVERDIE, i should try to live up to it and become the first true immortal someone has to do it, maybe that is my destiny.