YouTube gaming star Desmond “Etika” Amofah dies at 29

Daniel Desmond Amofah, a.k.a. Etika, a popular gaming vlogger with more than 800,000 YouTube followers, has died at age 29.

The New York Police Department confirmed on Tuesday that a body found on the evening of June 24 has been positively identified as Amofah’s. He had been considered missing since June 19, when authorities found and recovered his belongings, including his cellphone and identification. His belongings were found following an alarming video titled “I’m Sorry,” which Amofah posted to his secondary YouTube channel. In the video, which has since been deleted, he spoke about his mental health while walking through Manhattan. He had expressed similar thoughts in previous public statements like videos and tweets over the past eight months.

While the NYPD said that it is still investigating the circumstances surrounding Amofah’s death, he appeared to have been experiencing mental health issues for some time. Best known for Nintendo-related content, particularly involving the fighting game franchise Super Smash Bros., Amofah began posting videos that seemed to suggest suicidal ideation last fall.

In October 2018, he reportedly uploaded pornography to his primary YouTube channel in blatant disregard of the platform’s policies, resulting in the deletion of content on his account. Following that incident, Amofah posted an erratic video in which he seemed to be exhibiting signs of mental unwellness and left messages on social media and internet communities that alarmed many of his followers about his safety.

Amofah continued to reference suicidal ideation in posts on platforms like Reddit and Twitter. In April, he was banned from the popular live-streaming platform Twitch, on which he was also an active creator, after posting anti-Semitic and homophobic content. He apparently reacted to the ban by live-streaming on Instagram a police response to a call at his residence, where he had allegedly been threatening self-harm. The police, dressed in riot gear, eventually entered his home. Amofah was reportedly treated at mental health facilities after both the October and April incidents.

Amofah joined YouTube in 2012 and quickly made a name for himself posting humorous gaming reaction videos. Prior to his YouTube days, he worked as a model. His fans referred to themselves as “joycon boyz” following one of Etika’s more well-known videos about the debut of the Nintendo Switch.

In his final, since-deleted video, Amofah spoke of having pushed away support and of being “consumed” by internet communities. “Let my story be one that advises caution on too much of the social media shit,” he said. “It will fuck you up and give you an image of what you want your life to be. … Unfortunately, it consumed me.”

Friends of Amofah’s and members of the gaming and YouTube communities had expressed concerns in the past over his mental health and repeated those concerns throughout the week while Amofah was missing.

After the NYPD confirmed Amofah’s death, “Etika” became Twitter’s top trending topic worldwide as his followers mourned. Many of his followers also changed their profile names to “joycon boyz” in tribute.

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