Today, police confirmed the death of Desmond “Etika” Amofah, a well-known gaming YouTuber, after discovering him in Manhattan’s East River yesterday evening. Amofah’s body was found two days after police recovered his belongings on the Manhattan Bridge. Last week, he had published a video that appeared like a suicide note.
Amofah, 29, was born in Brooklyn, New York. He began creating videos on YouTube in 2012, and over the course of seven years, amassed a following of over 800,000 dedicated fans across YouTube and Twitch. He referred to them as the JoyCon Boyz, after the Nintendo Switch controllers.
Playing and commentating on Nintendo games for his fans, Amofah imbued what he loved with electricity and personality. Amofah’s charisma, candor, and ingenuity as a content creator launched him into the constellation of internet stardom.
Amofah began to publicly struggle with mental health last October, when he self-destructed his YouTube channel and, on Reddit, made references to suicidal ideation. In April, police detained Amofah after he threatened suicide in his apartment, they told Kotaku, citing his “psych history.” The incident resulted in Amofah’s admission into a hospital.
In May, Amofah had an altercation with a security guard or police officer that led to another hospital visit.
Last week, Amofah published a video, which YouTube took down, apparently saying goodbye to fans. “It was a fun life,” he said. “I had a great time. It was great. But for it to be cut so short—it’s fucked.” Friends and family had been unable to contact Amofah since before the video was posted.
Reached over the phone today, an NYPD representative offered this comment: “At approximately 18:18 hours [yesterday], police responded to a 9-11 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 harbour 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.”
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, you can call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14 or use their crisis support chat. A list of other services available to Australians online and over the phone can be found here.