Why did Etika kill himself? The YouTuber’s mental health issues consumed him till his death

Desmond “Etika” Amofah was an upcoming and popular American YouTuber and streamer a few years ago. Born to the Ghanaian politician Owuraku Amofah, Etika lived in Brooklyn, New York, and initially began his career as a model in 2011 and was also active as a rapper.

He gained fame as a YouTuber for his enthusiastic content mostly focused on streaming and reacting to Nintendo Direct presentations and character reveals of Super Smash Bros. However, following his struggles with mental health, a series of incidences would build up to his suicide in June 2019.

Etika’s untimely death is regarded as a lesson in the handling of mental illness on social media and his fanbase remembers his legacy even after two years. Thus, it’s time to take a closer look at the events leading up to Etika’s death.

Etika’s struggle with mental issues and his increasingly erratic breakdowns eventually culminated into suicid

Etika’s frenzied episodes of mental illness before his death is well documented. Notably, it began on October 25, 2018, when Amofah displayed unusual behavior by uploading graphic sexual content to his EWNetwork channel in violation of YouTube guidelines, leading to the termination of his channel.

In response to the termination, Etika posted a disturbing and cryptic message on his subreddit r/EtikaRedditNetwork which stated;

“Now it’s my turn to die. I love you all. Keep fighting for me, ok? I’ll miss y’all. Make the world better for your kids, and remember to stargaze. These last six years have been an honor.”

While this generated rightful concern from his fanbase, some brushed it off as a mere publicity stunt or a rebranding strategy to promote his move to Twitch streaming. Nonetheless, the messages were seen as him insinuating suicide and thus, spread panic among his followers, with rumors of his suicide attempt floating around. His fans reached out to fellow YouTubers and Twitch streamers to check upon him.

Etika’s friend, YouTuber Sky Williams, dissuaded the rumors and stated that he and many others were “working with the police and beyond to track and secure Etika”, Newsweek reported. In his subsequent tweet, he delivered the news that Etika had been found and was safe.

Moreover, hours later, Etika once again responded via Reddit to confirm his wellbeing.

“Guys, I’m fine, please stop worrying about me lol. You know I like to be overdramatic. Carry on!”

While he proclaimed that he “broke the world” and was seemingly in a good place, the majority of his fans remained unconvinced. In one of his twitch streams, he later clarified that he had decided to delete his channel as he had not received ad revenue from it.

In the April of 2019, another channel of his, EtikaFRFX, also suffered termination owing to the same reason.

In a series of troubling tweets, Etika appears to foretell the event of his death

In 2019, things would escalate as Etika begins to post a series of troubling suicidal messages on social media. One of his tweets in January implied his difficulty in coping with mental illness as he tweeted;

“What happened to me was not a mental breakdown. It was far scarier than that. There’s things in this universe that we as humans in our current state cannot comprehend or begin to understand/explain. When psychedelics are researched, that’s when we will discover who we are.”

His mention of psychedelics prompted fans to question whether drug use was involved but the one clear thing was the unstable state of Etika’s mental health.

The first tweet to gain traction was posted on April 16 and it stated;

“Savonarola! I’m going to kill myself! You lot certainly have already. Shame on you all, silly humans.”

His following tweet was even more distressing as he described how he wanted to shoot himself in the head from a weapon he had purchased and urged people to “bury him in Brooklyn”. Concerns were mounting among his fanbase and other streamers at his suicidal tweets.

As The Daily Dot notes, Etika’s friend and a fellow streamer, Alice Pika, confirmed on Twitter that the police had arrived at Etika’s place and he was currently being hospitalized.

However, after his hospital release, the situation saw little improvement as just a few days following his hospitalization, on April 29, Amofah posted a photoshopped image of him holding a gun and spewed anti-semitic and homophobic sentiment on Twitter and Twitch streams. He went on to block various close friends who were also content creators such as Sky Williams, Fiona Nova, and Alice Pika. Nova went on to say;

“He’s blocked all his close friends, don’t take it personally. He’s mentally ill and has had numerous manic episodes in the past. Bipolar disorder/Hypo-Mania is not a joke and he won’t get better unless he decides he wants treatment. There is nothing we can do at the moment, it’s on him.”

The next day, Amofah went live on Instagram, displaying tendencies to harm himself to more than 19,000 viewers who were watching the livestream. This resulted in the Brooklyn police being notified by one of his concerned fans and hence, he was detained. An NYPD representative affirmed to Kotaku that Etika was taken in custody and that’s “he’s got psych history”.

Etika goes missing after uploading an unsettling video which could be interpreted as a suicide note

On April 30, Etika appeared on YouTuber Keemster’s channel and denied accusations of his actions being publicity stunts and referred to himself as an “antichrist who have come to purge the planet of all human life”. In the same week, a video of Etika assaulting a police officer surfaced, resulting in his detainment and hospitalization in a mental health ward for 72 hours, reported The Daily Dot.

Almost a month later on June 20, a video titled “I’m sorry” was uploaded on his personal YouTube channel TR1Iceman and it would become the last video to ever be posted by Etika. In the eight-minute-long video, Amofah appears strangely calm and apologetic, stating;

“I’m sorry, y’all. I’m sorry I betrayed your trust, I’m sorry I pushed you all away. I’m sorry I made a clown of myself, I apologize. I wish it didn’t have to be this way…I shouldn’t have pushed so many people away…I really had no intention of killing myself, the walls were closing around me so fast, I was always pushing it too far. I guess I am mentally ill.”

Soon after the video was posted, he was reported missing. At this point, the NYPD was alerted and they began the search for Etika. At the same time, fellow internet content creators and his fanbase made collective efforts to reach out to him and messages of appreciation poured in for Etika.

After having gone missing for five days, on June 24, a CNN report confirmed the worst fear of everyone concerned. Etika’s body was found in the East River and the cause of death was determined as suicide by drowning.

Following his death, fans of Etika erected a memorial at the Manhattan bridge and his website was converted to a fundraiser site where the proceeds were donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in his name.