Saturday, 7 November 2015

Did Sam De Brito die of an overdose?

Earlier this week I received an email from someone out of the blue who asked me about my reason for suggesting suicide for the death of Sam De Brito the journalist who passed away in the middle of last month. The writer said "it seems drugs were much more likely given his fairly recent articles about his use of DHEA, regularly mixing spirits with codeine, his “research” buying oxies in the Cross, not to mention his past drug use."

Not having been a strictly regular reader of De Brito's column All Men Are Liars - I used to visit his page from time to time from the Sydney Morning Herald front page - I can't really comment but if this interlocutor was a regular reader they'd be in a much better position to judge the reason for his death than me.

My correspondent also said that they had heard that the cause of death was revealed at the funeral, admitting also "though this may be false".

If there was an autopsy made then probably the result would not be made public unless there were a Coroner's hearing, which would probably only be necessary if there were evidence of foul play. If De Brito's death were merely due to misadventure - as the police have suggested - then it's unlikely the case would make it that far. So readers and other people in the public who had an interest in De Brito due to his public notoriety as a journalist must just be satisfied with a mystery, it appears.

I told my correspondent that De Brito was a public person and to a certain extent his death is public property. "He would have understood that, being a journalist," I wrote. "I'm sure his family has a different idea," I added.

Journalists predicate so much of what they do however on the public's supposed "right to know" and frankly in this case you'd have to say that a person can hardly be faulted for speculating - even publicly, as I have done - considering the lack of reliable information.


Anonymous said...

I think you really need to consider who is reading your blog posts. Sam's family and friends really do not need you to be speculating on how he died or even who he was as a person. Those close to him know the truth and only those people need to know.
In years to come his beloved daughter is going to google his name and your words are going to come up for her to read, did you stop and think how that will make her feel?
If you must write about him, spell his name correctly, it is a lower case "d" de Brito not De Brito. Have some respect on all fronts.

Anonymous said...

Sam (in his blogs and other writings) was a painfully honest bloke so I suspect that, if it were someone possible, he would want people to know how he died. If he died by misadventure he would want it to be a warning to those who are 'adventurous'. If he died of a heart defect or something like that, I'm sure he would have some philosophical way to spin it as an ironic motivational tale to enjoy your life while you can.
Similarly if it was depression related, he wrote about depression and suicide frequently and the importance of being honest and asking for help and helping those at risk.
It's not macabre, it's just curiosity about the end of one of the most curious and refreshing writers of our time.
Vale Sam

Anonymous said...

My daughter knew Sam and is sure his daughter meant the world to him and was what his life was now about.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine knew him and her father went to the funeral (they currently live overseas). She says it was revealed at the funeral that it was suicide.

Dan said...

I never met Sam, but always enjoyed his work and had a few enlightening interactions with him on social media, and 8 months on this still really makes me sad.

For that reason I do understand why random people are wanting to know how he died; we're just desperate to make sense of things in some way or another, because losing someone like him in the prime of his life is so fundamentally senseless and shattering.

But the truth is the world is under no obligation to make sense to us, and I'm sure Sam would probably remind us of that if he were able to respond to these sorts of rumours. Some times bad things just happen.