Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old student at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, Alabama, has passed away. Shelby committed suicide after relentless bullying from his peers at Huntsville High School. According to reports, Shelby was the victim of homophobic bullying at his school before he took his own life.
“We were saddened to learn this morning of the death of Nigel Shelby, one of our 9th grade students,” Huntsville principal Aaron King wrote in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for Nigel’s family. At the time of this writing, the fundraiser has raised more than $30,500 from over 800 donations.
“We are heartbroken over the death of Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old freshman at Huntsville High School,” local LGBTQ+ group Rocket City Pride said in a statement. “Nigel took his life because he was bullied for being gay. There are no words that can be said to make sense of this devastating news.” In the message, organizers said that the group would collect donations at their Drag Brunch Sunday and their Drag Queen Bingo on Tuesday to help Shelby’s mother with funeral expenses. The $10,000 goal on a GoFundMe campaign had already been surpassed by more than $4,000 as of Monday morning. A candlelight vigil was also held in the Huntsville area on Sunday night.
Nigel’s mother, Camika Shelby, said that her son came out to her two years ago. While she knows that bullying played a role in her son’s suicide, she did not put the blame solely on that issue and she hopes that others will remember her son for much more.
“I don’t want him to be remembered as a kid who was bullied for being gay and who took his own life,” she said, via WAFF. “He was so much more than that. He was sunshine.”
Our deepest condolences go out to Nigel’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult and tragic time as they attempt to deal with his unfortunate and untimely passing.