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John Babirukamu Was Battling Depression, Paid All His Debts Before Jumping to His Death – Says Family

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The digital marketing community and many others are mourning the loss of John Babirukamu, a prominent digital marketer who tragically took his own life at Tagore Apartments in Kampala on May 30, 2024. Babirukamu, who was widely recognized for his professional achievements and warm personality, had been battling depression, a fact disclosed by his family during a memorial service held in Magere, Wakiso District.

At the memorial service, Collins Babirukamu, the deceased’s brother, revealed the depths of John’s struggle. “He had been sick for a long time,” Collins said. “He was suffering from depression.” This revelation shed light on the internal battle Babirukamu faced, one that many were unaware of despite his recent professional successes, including signing a new contract with a government body.

When his brother Collin spoke in his moving eulogy of his late brother, he recounted meeting John over lunch about a week ago. As a big brother, he says, he started asking deep questions.
“Who are your friends? I want to meet your friends,” Collin asked, saying “You know all my friends, you have seen all of them”. “John looked up several times and gave me about two names which all came from far away,” Collin adds.
From Collin’s eulogy, John didn’t have friends — friends that hold you accountable, friends that check on you — he just had work friends.
Yet the most common questions/statements that have been asked/said since his demise were: “I wish he opened up”, “Did he have friends to talk to about his struggles?”, and “He should have opened up to those close to him”.

 

John Babirukamu, known for his financial stability, had meticulously settled his debts, including rent, before his death. On the day before his passing, he sent mobile money to several people, including creditors, prompting speculation that his actions were part of a well-thought-out plan.

The memorial service was attended by numerous friends, family members, and notable figures, including retired Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde. He used the platform to emphasize the importance of mental health awareness. “The church and relevant government organs need to take considerable interest in the issue of mental health,” Tumukunde stated, urging those struggling to seek help.

In a heartbreaking final message on his family WhatsApp group, sent at 11:41 AM on the day of his death, Babirukamu expressed his deep feelings of emptiness. “I have given it my all and now I find myself with only emptiness,” he wrote. “I do sincerely love you all, and hope you find it in your hearts to forgive me. Kiss my nieces and nephews for me. They are the last joy that I held onto.”

Family members made frantic attempts to reach him, but his phone was switched off. Shortly thereafter, news of his death was confirmed, leaving his loved ones and the wider community in shock.

Friends and colleagues remember Babirukamu as a jolly, intelligent, and amiable individual. His friend, who visited his apartment after his death, was taken aback by the large stash of antidepressants found in his drawers, a stark reminder of the internal battle he faced alone. Despite his hearty laugh and seemingly cheerful demeanor, Babirukamu’s struggle with depression remained hidden from many.

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