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Grad Student Stuns Princeton With 4,000-Word Suicide Note

Computer whiz Bill Zeller details his childhood sex abuse
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2011 2:02 PM CST

(Newser) – Princeton is mourning the death of 27-year-old Bill Zeller, a renowned computer programmer and grad student who killed himself after leaving a 4,000-word note, reports the Daily Princetonian. “I have the urge to declare my sanity and justify my actions," it begins, "but I assume I’ll never be able to convince anyone that this was the right decision.” He wrote of the repeated sexual abuse he suffered as a child and how that "darkness" had "followed me like a fog." The note, which he wanted made public, can be read here.

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Zeller wrote that he never spoke of his abuse and felt that he couldn't connect with others or be a good person, though the newspaper rounds up friend after friend who declares the opposite. An example of his sense of humor: He created this IsItChristmas site, which reads "No" 364 days a year. He also created this app for Gmail users. “Maybe there’s nothing that could have been done,” says a postdoctoral researcher who knew him. "But I like to think in some parallel universe there’s a Bill Zeller out there who found a way to begin to heal himself. It’s a great loss for us.” Click for more. (Read more Princeton stories.)

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