Bassem Sabry, one of Egypt’s most respected bloggers who campaigned for civil rights and against repression, has died at 31 years, sending a rippling wave of grief among hundreds of activists and followers in Egypt and worldwide.
Sabry was a well-known columnist whose writings have appeared in several English-language publications, including the Foreign Policy, The Atlantic and Hurriyet Daily News, as well as a number of Egypt’s independent newspapers. Egyptian social media was flooded with eulogies by his friends since his death on Tuesday.
The circumstances surrounding Sabry’s sudden death are not clear. An anonymous security official told the Associated Press news agency that Sabry “accidentally fell from a balcony under unclear circumstances”. A number of his friends said a sugar coma led to his fall.
Mohamed ElBaradei, winner of the Nobel peace prize and a former presidential contender, tweeted that Sabry was a “noble person we lost at a time of dire need”.
Writer Mohammed el-Dahshan mourned his friend in a post describing Sabry as “an extremely astute writer, a gifted analyst, an indefatigable storyteller, and even through the darkness, optimistic to a fault”.
Sabry’s funeral was scheduled to take place in Cairo at noon, but was postponed following a delay in the completion of burial paperwork, several of his friends said on the messaging online network, Twitter.
The death of Sabry, who was a coordinator in the liberal al-Dostour party, established by ElBaradei, has sent a wave of grief and mourning among activists across the globe.
“[He] never gave up on democracy, even during brutal dictatorships. [He] never gave up on social peace, even during murderous polarisation,” Omar Ashour, non-resident fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, said in a eulogy of Sabry via his Twitter account.
Former legislator and political analyst Amr Hamzawi said: “I want a country in which every human feels that he has a chance of a decent life, the dream which my friend Bassem Sabry wrote for. I mourn him, a wonderful human and an Egyptian voice for freedom.”