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Freshman Dies after Tragic Accident at Home

By Douglas E. Heimburger
Associate News Editor

Umaer A. Basha '01 died Wednesday at Children's Hospital in Chicago after accidentally drowning in the shower.

Basha was taking a shower Monday at his parents' home in Lake Forest, Ill. when he fainted, said Robert M. Randolph, senior associate dean for undergraduate education and student affairs.

Basha's lungs filled with water and he went into a coma. "Efforts to revive him ultimately failed and he died Wednesday afternoon, after being taken off a ventilator,"Randolph said. Doctors ruled the death accidental.

Basha, a resident of East Campus, was a member of the Muslim Students Association and the crew team, said Jed Z. Buchwald, professor of science, technology, and society and East Campus housemaster.

He was "a very popular fellow, well-liked and well-known" on his floor, second west, Buchwald said.

"We did know that he had the flu or a cold and had apparently got well but was a little weak" when he went home for the weekend, Buchwald said.

However, "We don't really know too much at this point about the full details,"of why he fainted, Buchwald added.

Basha's death was "unexpected and very, very unlikely,"said Anwer A. Basha, Umaer's father.

Residents of the second floor of East Campus' west parallel met with counselors from MITmedical and members of the Office of the Dean for Students and Undergraduate Education, Randolph said.

"They were, you know, upset," said Ayida Mthembu, associate dean for counseling and support services and associate housemaster of East Campus. "They're a very caring floor, and he was important to them."

Basha "always wanted to promote good causes for the community,"his father said.

He was buried in Illinois yesterday.

Details of a potential memorial service on campus for Basha are not yet finalized, Randolph said. "We're waiting to see what the dormitory residents want to do."

Vincent W. James '78, Basha's academic advisor and director of the educational council, is in Chicago and will meet with Basha's parents today to discuss their potential involvement in a memorial service, Randolph added. "We're trying to get a sense of what the family would like."

The family has asked that contributions in memory of Umaer be sent to the Umaer A. Basha Trust Fellowship; 3322 15th St.; Kenosha, WI 53142.

Jennifer Lane contributed to the reporting of this story.