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“It is with profound sorrow…

… that I must announce the death of my brother, Nicholas Hughes, who died by his own hand 16th March, 2009, at his home in Alaska. He had been battling depression for some time.”

Sylvia Plath’s son has killed himself.

From the Fairbanks News Miner:

Friends in Alaska are mourning the death of Nicholas Hughes, who studied at Oxford and became a prominent fish biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The news of his passing has prompted headlines around the world because his parents were poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

… [T]he 47-year-old Fairbanks resident …became an authority on grayling, salmon and trout. He developed computer models to show the relationship between fish behavior and stream characteristics. He was an incredible cyclist, as well as an ardent gardener and fisherman.

Update: From the same News Miner writer:

A few times, I called him to let him know I would like to write about his life and his family connections, whenever a news story about his parents appeared, but he did not think it was a good idea, so it never happened. He deserved his privacy. By and large, people in Fairbanks respected that, which is a good comment on our part of the world.

In Alaska, he had the freedom and the opportunity to live on his own terms and be recognized for his own accomplishments. Here he was not a literary figure forever defined by the lives of his parents.

But he was their son and his death will generate headlines around the world.

The statement from his sister, quoted in the Times Online, said: “His lifelong fascination with fish and fishing was a strong and shared bond with our father (many of whose poems were about the natural world). He was a loving brother, a loyal friend to those who knew him and, despite the vagaries that life threw at him, he maintained an almost childlike innocence and enthusiasm for the next project or plan.”

Margaret Soltan, March 23, 2009 3:46AM
Posted in: professors

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One Response to ““It is with profound sorrow…”

  1. University Diaries » University Suicides Says:

    […] Foster Wallace; Winston Napier, Clark University; Jerry Wolff, from St. Cloud State; Hank Payne; Nicholas Hughes of the University of Alaska; George Mason’s William Lash; Berkeley’s Jorge Liderman; […]

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