Gene Martinez, a veteran agent who joined Compass during the brokerage’s early years and played a pivotal role in its rapid U.S. expansion, died Tuesday.
Compass founder and CEO Robert Reffkin announced Martinez’s death on Instagram Wednesday, describing him as “one of the most beloved people at Compass because of his infectious smile, positivity and empathy.” Reffkin went on to say Martinez was a leader, mentor and friend at Compass.
“I will always remember Gene and we would not be the community we are today without him,” Reffkin added.
Martinez’ cause of death was a stroke, a source with knowledge of the situation told Inman.
News of Martinez’s death was first reported by The Real Deal.
In an internal company note, obtained by Inman, Reffkin also said Martinez “always embraced a challenge.”
Martinez first joined Compass in 2014, according to his company profile, after spending over a decade and a half at Corcoran. At Compass, he initially served as a leader in sales and recruitment operations from his hometown of Miami. His LinkedIn page indicates he later moved to New York City to serve as a director of sales and business development, then to San Francisco.
Reffkin’s Instagram post further explains that Martinez “was critical in helping us launch in New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, where he was our first regional president there.” Among other things, during Martinez’ first year in the Bay Area he oversaw more than $1.8 billion in sales as well as the hiring of more than 100 agents, according to his company profile.
In 2018, Martinez moved back to Miami where he held the title of executive director of luxury sales. Last summer, he represented model Karlie Kloss and her husband Joshua Kushner — brother of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor — when the couple bought a $23.5 million Miami Beach mansion, according to The Real Deal.
Martinez maintained an active social media presence, including on Instagram, where his images portrayed him as a bon vivant interested in positivity. The photos often showed him boating, spending time with loved ones and traveling.
Following news of Martinez’s death, many friends and colleagues took to social media to share condolences. In response to Reffkin’s post, commenters described Martinez as “our bright and shining star” and “like no other person I have ever met in this world.”
Others commented directly on Martinez’s own posts, some describing him as “unforgettable.”
In his note to other Compass personnel, Reffkin ultimately characterized Martinez as a singular member of the industry.
“I have been fortunate to meet so many incredible people in our industry, but few were as magnetic, caring, and positive as Gene,” Reffkin said. “He loved the people he worked with and was much more than a leader or manager — he was a coach, confidant, and close friend to many.”