Monday morning marked a particularly somber start to the semester. As the student body collectively sighed and logged into Albert for class locations, an email from Vice Chancellor Linda Mills headlined “The Death of a Third North Resident” arrived in our inboxes. A freshman in the Liberal Studies Program, later identified as Titan Lee-Hai, passed away during the early hours of Monday morning, following a fall from the residency.
Confusion followed this news. Various media sources offered incomplete reports about the incident, including misconceptions about Lee-Hai’s age. It’s unlikely that we will ever get a full description of the events leading up to Lee-Hai’s death. Regardless, NYU lost a talented member of the Class of 2017.
Lee-Hai only spent one semester here, yet his classmates offered fond memories of a vibrant young man from Trinidad. From Welcome Week to Finals Week, Lee Hai’s funky hairstyles, Caribbean slang, and arrivals to class on a Penny Board instantly made him stand out from the crowds of nervous freshmen. Classmates and floormates were attracted to the 19-year old’s desire to help others. One close friend describes Lee-Hai as “compassionate,” saying that he “always looked out for fellow man.”
But nothing characterized Lee-Hai better than his music. A passionate hip-hop artist using the stage name “Trizzy Kidd,” he planned on transferring into one of Tisch’s music departments after completing the Liberal Studies Program. As you can see on his YouTube channel, Lee-Hai’s songs were as numerous and diverse as his friends. They ranged from covers to remixes to original pieces that showcased the sounds of his island nation. A quick listen to his music will show you Lee-Hai’s immense passion and enthusiasm for his craft.
“He was having fun. He really just loved making that music,” Max Raderstorf, a CAS freshman and one of Lee-Hai’s closest friends, said. The two started off as gym buddies and then formed a close friendship in just a few months. Lee-Hai even traveled to Vermont to spend Thanksgiving with Raderstorf’s family. Lee-Hai was always eager to hear about his friends’ days and offer advice on any issue. According to Raderstorf, “He was a great guy to have around in any situation.”