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Body is found in search of missing British poet

The family of a British poet who died last weekend at a music festival in England were in mourning after the discovery of a body after a search lasting almost a week made headlines national newspapers and aroused great interest on social networks.

Poet Gboyega Odubanjo, 27, was last seen at the Shambala music festival in Kelmarsh, England, around 85 miles north of London, at around 4am on Saturday. Mr Odubanjo was due to perform at the festival on Sunday.

The search ended on Thursday morning when Northamptonshire Police said they found the body of a man, whom they have not publicly identified.

Police said the man’s family had been notified and there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

In a statement shared with The New York Times by Mr Odubanjo’s close friend, Tice Cin, his family remember him warmly and said his disappearance was “totally irrelevant”.

“He is a warm and infectious personality, an infectious smile and a heart full of kindness,” the family statement read. “When his sister’s twins were born, he took it upon himself to move in and support his sister and her husband with their young family. »

Echoing criticism on social media of Mr Odubanjo’s search, the family statement also said: “We believe that had he received adequate care, he would still be alive. »

In a statement, Northamptonshire Police said that “searching in open ground and in water requires specialist skills to locate a missing person and to secure and preserve evidence. Unofficial searches carry a risk both for those carrying out the search and for the investigation.

The disappearance and death are still under active investigation, police said. Organizers of the Shambala festival, which describes itself as “anti-corporate, independent and environmental pioneer”, said they were “devastated by this situation”, but otherwise declined to comment pending the coroner’s report on the cause of death.

Mr. Odubanjo, born and raised in London, was considered a rising star on the city’s poetry scene. He is the author of ‘While I Yet Live’ and the award-winning ‘Aunty Uncle Poems’ and was editor of Bath Magg, an online poetry magazine. He was working as an editor at Bad Betty Press and studying for a doctorate. in Creative Writing from the University of Hertfordshire.

His disappearance sparked an outpouring of support from the British poetic community.

“Our light switch in a dark room,” Kareem Parkins-Brown, a London-based poet, said of Mr Odubanjo. “He was the voice of the joys of London life. Frank O’Hara from our town.

“In the literary world, I have often felt misunderstood and eager to explain myself, but I always felt that you understood me,” poet Raymond Antrobus said in a post. “Many of us knew about your talent and waited for the rest of the world to catch up with us.”

“He just had this air of wisdom about him,” said Ms Cin, Mr Odubanjo’s friend. “He could go anywhere in the world and people would look to him for advice.”

Mr Odubanjo was due to perform this month at the Barbican Center in London as part of 05fest, a festival organized by poet Inua Ellams.

But Mr Odubanjo had big ambitions outside his native Britain. “He wanted to tell stories across the world,” Ms Cin said, but he always felt a strong connection to his hometown.

As Mr. Odubanjo says in one of his poems: “London is a bit of me/London is the place for me”.

nytimes Eur

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