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Timothy Henderson: Teenager dies after ‘serious brain trauma’

Hundreds of Yellowknifers have paid tribute to Timothy Henderson, a musician and student from the city who is reported to have passed away on Sunday.

Writing online, the 19-year-old’s family said Timothy had sustained a “very serious brain trauma” late last week.

The exact circumstances of the incident have yet to be confirmed.

Timothy, the youngest child of Ian Henderson and Connie Boraski, played an active role in the Yellowknife arts community before leaving the city to study jazz and contemporary music at MacEwan University, in Edmonton, last fall.

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On Thursday, James Boraski – Connie’s husband – told friends: “My wife Connie’s youngest son, Timothy, has sustained a very serious brain trauma injury; he is in a very deep and unresponsive coma and is on life support.”

By Sunday, the Boraskis said they had taken the decision to switch off life support as Timothy’s condition worsened.

“His organs and tissues have all been approved for donation and transplant purposes. The recipients have been notified and are in hospital now,” wrote James Boraski.

“We are taking some comfort in knowing that the gifts of his organs and tissues will ensure that his tremendous spirit lives on in the lives of others.”

Timothy Henderson
Timothy Henderson performing in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 2013.

Friends posting online tributes to Timothy spoke of their disbelief, and their admiration.

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“My favourite thing about you is the way your face lit up talking about your passions like your music,” wrote Jessica Phillips. “And yes, I say ‘is’, because in my mind you will never be gone.

“I still can’t believe I won’t be seeing you this summer, or spending Folk on the Rocks with you, or taking pictures like we planned.

“I’ll miss your smile the most.”

Johanna McNeil wrote: “You inspired a lot of people to be who they wanted to be and not worry about what everyone else thought. You were an extremely brave person.

“I’ll miss comparing nail polish and guitars with you. It was a pleasure to have known you.”

Ed Hardy, founder of the Helmets for Hardy campaign in the Northwest Territories, was shocked by the news.

Hardy lost his 18-year-old son, Josh, to a brain injury after a skateboarding accident in 2012, prompting the Hardy family to found their charity.

Hardy said Josh and Timothy had been friends.

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“All of the events, memories and feelings, and recent loss of another young man, friend to my son Josh, have left me totally drained,” he said.

Many, many others left messages of support for Timothy’s family, alongside their memories of Timothy.

“It was an absolute pleasure to have known you and have performed by your side,” wrote Cassi Atamanenko.

“Your passion for performing was contagious, just like your laughter and kind spirit. You were always the most friendly and compassionate person and I have yet to meet someone like you.

“You were an individual with a special flair. Thank you so much and rest in peace.”

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