University of Waterloo co-op student dies in California collision

Friday, December 4, 2015
It is with deep sadness that the University of Waterloo must confirm the death of Gabriel Barsky, a student studying Computer Science in the Faculty of Mathematics. Gabriel, known as Gaby, aged 20, died as a result of injuries he sustained while travelling to work for a co-op work term in California on Wednesday, December 2, 2015.
His sister, Sabrina Barsky, said:
"Gaby was the golden boy. He was more than just my brother. Gaby's intelligence superseded his years. There will not be one moment where I forget his infectious laugh, beautiful smile and grand wisdom. Gaby was very captured by the words of Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now, which provided wisdom on the benefit of living fully within each moment. He embodied that. Gaby focused on the present, learned from the past and never worried for things out of his control. 
"Students, friends, co-workers, family and those that did not have the pleasure of meeting my bright, beautiful twin, I urge you to focus on this moment. Be upset; be angry; be torn. Immerse yourself into the utter devastation of this loss. Give yourself this time to grieve fully because one day, instead of drowning in grief, you will feel empowered. The pain will still exist, but it will turn into a drive. A drive to be better. To push yourself to limits you didn't even think were possible. 
"This is how Gaby lived his very short 20 years. With complete feeling. He put everything into his friendships, his academia, his job, his travels and his love for every single living being. 
"I will remember him when the sun shines on my cheek, when the winds blows through my hair and even when the snowflakes fall on my nose.  
"Many commented on how similarly Gaby and I looked. Just know that when I smile, if you look closely enough, you'll see him smiling back. I will love you forever, Gabetski."
Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, said:
“The death of Gabriel Barsky is an immensely sad loss for his family, friends colleagues and the entire University of Waterloo community. By all accounts he was an extraordinarily talented student who lived life to the fullest and had a vision for making an impact on the world around him. He will be missed and we will keep his family in our thoughts at this most difficult of times."
Support is available for anybody who knew Gaby. The University encourages students who are feeling distressed to reach out to your Don or ResLife team, UWaterloo staff across campus, or to any of the resources listed below. Help is available.
Internal resources
UWaterloo Counselling Services
Today's hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Needles Hall, room 2080
UWaterloo Health Services
UWaterloo Police Services
Available 24 hours, 7 days a week
External resources
Mobile Crisis Team
Available 24 hours, 7 days a week
Kitchener-Waterloo Distress Line
1-866-925-5454 or 211
Telecare Distress Line

Media Contact

Nick Manning
University of Waterloo

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