Internet Mourns Death of Embassy Officer

Posted September 12th, 2012 at 7:45 pm (UTC-5)
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The Internet gaming community is mourning the death of Sean Smith, the U.S. embassy officer and online gaming impresario killed Tuesday in Libya.

Known by the online moniker “Vile Rat,” the 34-year-old Smith was a key participant in the multi-player game “Eve Online.” The game is a role-playing venture in which hundreds of thousands of players interact to pilot starships, buy and sell virtual goods, and elect a government composed of real-world figures. Smith's online role, like that in real life, was that of a diplomat who brokered treaties and built galactic alliances.

In real life, U.S. Air Force veteran Smith — married and the father of two children — served as an information technology specialist who worked with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Smith, Stevens and two other embassy personnel died when their vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade as they attempted to flee a rioting mob in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

As news of the killings spread through cyberspace Wednesday, popular game sites and forums erupted in outpourings of grief at the loss of a prominent community member.

Online colleague Mark Heard remembered Smith as “one of the most well-known and respected diplomats” for one of the most powerful EVE alliances.