On the morning of Monday 13 September, the body of Gafaru Adam was found at the bottom of a backyard swimming pool at a home on South Kachina Circle in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. Emergency services believe that he may have been underwater overnight.


Gafaru was an international student from Ghana who arrived in the US on 30 July to begin a PhD in biochemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University. As an undergraduate he attended Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Southern Ghana, and in 2020 achieved first class honours in biochemistry.

On 4 August Gafaru announced on his Facebook page that he had started studying at ASU, and got lots of messages of congratulations and support in reponse.

Professor Neal Woodbury, vice president of research and chief science and technology officer of ASU Knowledge Enterprise said:

In the very short time we had to interact, he struck me as intelligent and inquisitive. The loss of such a promising young person is absolutely tragic.

Biochemistry Professor, Julian Chen said:

Gafaru’s sudden passing is truly heartbreaking to all of us. When I first met and interviewed Gafaru in a Zoom meeting last year in November, I was able to spot his talent and great potential to succeed as a promising young scientist. He was impressively knowledgeable and asked insightful questions.

The School of Molecular Sciences Graduate Student Council at ASU set up a GoFundMe page to help Gafaru’s family with funeral expenses.

Too many international students are drowning…

International students are at increased of death or serious injury while swimming or enjoying water activities.

Stay safe. Learn about water safety in the US for international students. Take the FREE Water Safety Course.

It could save your life.

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Source: ASU News, 12 News