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Head of virtual currency exchange found dead in Singapore

Autumn Radtke
Source: LinkedIn
Autumn Radtke

Autumn Radtke, the 28-year-old CEO of an upstart bitcoin exchange, died last week under mysterious circumstances at her home in Singapore.

The U.S.-born head of First Meta was found dead by police on Feb. 28, with the cause of death yet to be determined. In a statement on its website, First Meta said the company "was shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and CEO Autumn Radtke."

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the company's director and nonexecutive chairman, Douglas Abrams, said the exact cause of Radtke's death was "still under investigation."

Prior to taking the reins at First Meta in 2012, the 28-year-old Radtke had once closely worked with technology giant Apple to bring cloud-computing software to Johns Hopkins University, Los Alamos Labs and the Aerospace Corp., according to her biography. She then took up business development roles at tech start-ups Xfire and Geodelic Systems, according to information on her LinkedIn profile.

First Meta bills itself as a clearing house for the purchase and exchange of virtual currencies, including bitcoin.

(Read more: Back to work at bitcoin's embattled Mt.Gox)

Her death comes as troubles swirl around the nascent cryptocurrency industry, and amid a rash of suicides in the financial industry as a whole.

Last week, the world's largest bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox imploded; meanwhile, nearly $500 million in client funds vanished overnight. Elsewhere, untimely demises unrelated to bitcoin have claimed the lives of bankers at JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Zurich Insurance Group.

Financial-related suicides are common during times of market upheaval, such as the Great Depression or the Crash of 1987. However, the recent deaths have coincided with a surge of major indexes to record highs.

—By CNBC's Javier E. David. Follow him on Twitter @TeflonGeek.