Police confirmed the death of Desmond "Etika" Amofah earlier today after discovering the popular gaming YouTuber's body in Manhattan's East River yesterday evening. Last week, it had appeared Amofah had published a YouTube video that came across like a suicide note, leading many of his fans to worry that something was amiss.
Amofah was just 29 years old, and had already had a long and fruitful career on the gaming section of YouTube spanning back to 2012. Over his seven year career in the industry, Amofah had cultivated a following of over 800,000 fans spanning both YouTube and Twitch, and was well known for playing and commentating on popular Nintendo games. Amofah's struggle with mental health became public last October, when he deleted his YouTube channel and made references to suicidal thoughts in a lengthy Reddit post. In April, Amofah was detained by police after he threatened suicide in his apartment, triggering several hospital visits over his mental health.
Police found Amofah's body two days after they had discovered his belongings on the Manhattan Bridge. An extended search into his whereabouts was launched after that, and police were able to confirm earlier this morning that Amofah had died in an apparent suicide, although a medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of death and an investigation is still ongoing. In a comment made to Kotaku, an NYPD representative offered details on the tragic events surrounding Amofah's death:
"At approximately 18:18 hours [yesterday], police responded to a 9-1-1 call with a person floating in the water in the vicinity of the South Street Seaport in the confines of the 1st Precinct. Upon arrival, officers discovered an unresponsive, unidentified male at that location. The NYPD harbor removed the male to Pier 16, where EMS pronounced him deceased. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing."
Last week, Amofah published a video that would end up being his final goodbye to fans. YouTube took it down, but it made the rounds anyways as these things often do on the internet, and friends, family, and fans immediately became concerned. Friends and family close to Amofah had been attempting to contact him ever since the video was posted but were unable to reach him. In the video, Amofah makes reference to his death in an unsettling and sad message that emphasizes the need for mental health to be a frequent discussion amongst young people looking for support:
"It was a fun life. I had a great time. It was great. But for it to be cut so short - it's f**ked."
It didn't take long for an outpouring of support to emerge on social media for Amofah. Friends and fans aired their grief by sharing what an amazing person he had been, reflecting on the positives surrounding his life:
I want to take today to remember my dear friend @Etika for the joy that he brought into my world and so many others.— RogersBase (@RogersBase) June 25, 2019
To me, he'll always be Desmond: The man behind the mask who was always down to adventure and always had my back.
I will miss you dearly. #JOYCONBOYZ forever. pic.twitter.com/J03r5A3rC5
RIP @Etika. You were always super cool towards me and I regret not getting to know you better. Thanks for hours of entertainment and going out of your way to not only credit but signal boost my work. I'm so sad that you're gone but I'll never forget you.— Liam Robertson (@Doctor_Cupcakes) June 25, 2019
Hard to grasp that he's actually gone, left us way too soon.— ƿ૯ωძɿ૯ƿɿ૯ (@pewdiepie) June 25, 2019
You will continue to live on in our hearts.
Rest in peace @Etika
As always, mental health and suicide are serious topics and Amofah's death is a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do in removing the stigma surrounding mental health. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline in the United States is available to those in need 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255. International suicide hotlines can be found here for those in other countries.