Western grad's death in Mexico sparks crowdfunding response
Friends and family of a Western University grad who died on vacation in Mexico on Monday have shattered a $20,000 fundraising goal to fly him home for burial in Canada.
Nathan James Carl Holder, who went by the name "NateBlack," died in Cancun, Mexico according to his family. They say he was on a reading week vacation with friends when he "became ill" and "passed away suddenly."
He was 29.
Holder was the co-founder of Lion's Den University, a student lifestyle website.
Holder's family set up a crowdfunding campaign Monday evening to raise funds to bring him home. The campaign quickly surpassed its $20,000 goal and racked up more than $35,000 in contributions by Tuesday afternoon.
"We are making arrangements to transfer his body to Toronto from Cancun and also for the funeral," said a message on the crowdfunding website. "The repatriation process and funeral will cost upwards of $20,000."
More than 750 individuals have already donated to the cause, including three backers who pledged $1,000 each.
"We appreciate the love," campaign organizer Carolynn Mayers wrote in an update early Tuesday. "We can see how Nathan touched so many hearts."
In a separate email to CTVNews.ca, Mayer said the family is now "preparing for his arrival."
Holder had strong ties to the Western University community, where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity.
After news of Holder's death broke, Delta Upsilon extended its "deepest sympathies" to Holder's family in a post to Facebook Monday evening.
"During his time at Delta Upsilon he not only changed the lives of our brothers, but of every person he came across in the Western community," the post said.
Matt Helfand, president of Western's student union, tweeted his own condolences on Monday night.
Holder's Linkedin page says he spent four years at Western and another year at York University in Toronto.
Holder had a strong social media presence under his NateBlack alias. His Twitter account had over 1,300 followers and he frequently tweeted about LDU articles and events.
Black's last post on the site was called "6 Guidelines for Western Kids Going Away on Spring Break," published Feb. 10.
His Instagram page shows he led an active social life.
After Holder's death, many took to social media to express their grief.