One of the four Americans killed during last Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was a student with Penn State University’s World Campus, according to a report from The Centre Daily Times.
Sean Smith, 34, was an information management official with the U.S. State Department who was taking online classes at the university. Having recently relocated from his post in the Netherlands, Smith was in Libya on a temporary assignment to assist with IT efforts.
Smith also made headlines this weekend as it emerged he was a well-known participant in EVE Online, an intergalactic science fiction multiplayer game with its own economy and player-elected government that claims as many as 400,000 users. There, he was known by his screen name, “Vile Rat.”
“I’m not sure if this is how I’m supposed to react to my friend being killed by a mob in a post-revolutionary Libya, but it’s pretty awful and Sean was a great guy and he was a g–––d master at this game we all play, even though a lot of people may not realize how significant an influence he had,” friend and fellow player Alex Gianturco blogged the day after the attack. “It seems kind of trivial to praise a husband, father, and overall badass for his skills in an internet spaceship game but that’s how most of us know him, so there you go.”
A message board thread on the gaming site eulogizing Smith had swollen to 69 pages as of Sunday.