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Yale Junior Leapt Off Empire State Building

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NY Daily News: A brainy Yale junior who plunged 86 floors to his death from the Empire State Building left behind a tragic suicide note apologizing for killing himself.

cameron dabaghi
The reason 21-year-old Cameron Dabaghi took his life remains a mystery - especially to his pals on campus and loving family in Austin, Tex.

"It's absolutely shocking," said Jack Newman, founder of the Austin Tennis Academy and Dabaghi's coach for more than five years. "You couldn't ask for a better, smarter guy. He was a rock star and all the things you'd want in a student."

"I've had thousands of students, and this was the one who you thought was going to change the world," Newman said.

"There's just no reason I can think of for this. The family is close ... and the parents were wonderfully supportive. Everyone's just floored."

Dabaghi's sad, final apology was found in his residence hall room in New Haven, a police source said Wednesday. He wrote that he was heading to New York to leap from either the George Washington Bridge or the Empire State Building.

There were seven people on the 86th-floor observation deck of the building when Dabaghi climbed the 10-foot-high spiked safety barrier about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

One person tried to talk him down, but moments later, he crashed down onto W. 34th St.

News of his dramatic end rocked the campus - and left his friends asking why.

"Everyone is in shock," said pal Tommy Meyerson, a former roommate who last saw Dabaghi on Monday night.

"He was joking around. He never mentioned anything about being upset or going to New York. He missed class yesterday, but I didn't think anything of it."

Dabaghi was an East Asian studies major and co-captain of the men's club tennis team; he was also a world traveler who studied in China and Taiwan.

Before getting into Yale, he attended Deerfield Academy, a tony boarding school in Massachusetts.

Friends said Dabaghi was an amateur space photographer who felt under constant pressure to perform well at school - but nothing any of them thought out of the ordinary for the Ivy League.

His younger sister, Andrene, is a sophomore at Yale, and his older brother, Kendall, is a Duke graduate and Fulbright scholar. Their doctor parents, Shad Dabaghi and Janet Lindsey, live in an elite lakeside gated neighborhood in Austin.

More than 100 students held a candlelight vigil at Yale's Berkeley College last night in memory of Dabaghi.

"I needed to ensure that he was remembered as he deserves - as a selfless and thoughtful individual who shaped who I am today," his sister told the mourners.

"What Cameron needs to know is what you see before you. He was loved. He was never alone. And he will always be my brother."

At least 34 people have jumped to their deaths from the Empire State Building since it opened in 1931. The most recent was in April 2007.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Monica April 1, 2010, 9:35 PM

Maybe he was feeling the pressure of such a highly successful family and might have felt that he didn’t measure up. With both his parents being doctors and his siblings all going to fantastic school he might have felt he couldn’t handle but didn’t want to tell anyone. Very sad.

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