by Dave Fraser | The Sun
FORMER Nottingham Forest star Derrick Otim has died aged 24. The English-born Ghanaian star drowned in Lake Keowee in South Carolina, USA – say reports in America.
In 2018, Lake Keowee was described as South Carolina’s “most deadly body of water” in a chilling local news article.
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The midfielder had recently graduated from Xavier University – and is claimed to have been visiting friends in South Carolina.
At the time of writing, 32 people had died in a 25-year span.
Tributes have been paid to the star player by Nottingham Forest FC and teammates, describing him as a ‘top lad’ who ‘always brought a smile to everyone’s faces’.
Otim’s former Forest team-mate Cash was quick to pay tribute, saying he “always brought a smile to everyone’s face”.
After hearing the tragic news, Forest star Cash tweeted: “RIP del, can’t believe I’m writing this.
“Such a top lad who always brought a smile to everyone’s face when around him, RIP”.
Nottingham Forest also tweeted, writing: “Rest in peace, Derrick.
Rest in peace, Derrick ❤️— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) July 5, 2020
#NFFC are saddened to learn of the passing of former academy player Derrick Otim.
The thoughts of everyone at the club go out to his friends and family at this tragic time. pic.twitter.com/zqR5thSHlm
“#NFFC are saddened to learn of the passing of former academy player Derrick Otim.
“The thoughts of everyone at the club go out to his friends and family at this tragic time.”
Fans were quick to pay their respects, too.
One tweeted: “Just heard some sad news. Former #NFFC Academy player Derrick Otim past away.
“Use to live few doors from me in st Ann’s. So sad to hear.”
Another wrote: “Devastated to hear of the passing of Derrick Otim.
“A wonderfully talented footballer and an incredible human being. Life can be unbearably cruel.”
A third said: “R.I.P brother, growing up was always the benchmark of where we all tried to get to.
“But forgetting football the most gentle + kind human being there is!
“Prayers up for you and your family at this devastating time.”
Another tweeted: “Devastating news. You inspired so many growing up and I’m proud to have been your friend and teammate.
“Will hold the memories close to me for life. Had such a bright future in and out the game and you could never meet a nicer person!!
“Rest in peace brother.”
A close friend added: “My heart is breaking Dez..For you, for your family & all your many many friends.
“A smile that could light up any room. A personality that noone could pick faults with.
“The kindest most gentle soul I ever had the pleasure of meeting. Rest easy my wonderful friend.”
Otim had initially trained with Forest Academy, before moving to America for university four years ago.
The midfielder – who was well-known on the pitch at Xavier University – is thought to have recently graduated.
Lake Keowee was branded as the ‘most deadly body of water’ in South Carolina by a 2018 report, which said 32 people had lost their lives there within 25 years.
The man-made body of water was built more than 50 years ago, and is a popular place for boating, skiing and swimming.
The Oconee County side of the lake, which has reported 13 deaths compared to one on the Pickens side between 2011 and 2019, is popular as it has two country parks, a swimming and boating area, and a rocky outcrop used for jumping into the water.