London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egyptian journalist, blogger and pro-democracy activist Bassem Sabry has died at the age of 32, reportedly falling from a balcony on Monday, according to security officials.
A prominent young voice during the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Sabry was a well-known columnist and analyst fluent in several languages. He wrote mainly in English and Arabic for publications including Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, Al-Monitor, Bikya Masr and Al-Masry Al-Youm, and on his blog, An Arab Citizen.
Shortly after the news of his death tributes began to pour in online, especially on social media website Twitter, where Sabry was particularly active during the 2011 uprising and after.
Egyptian Nobel laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed El-Baradei—with whom Sabry founded the liberal Al-Dostour party where he also worked for a time as a strategist—tweeted: “I ask all the revolutionary youth to pray for mercy and forgiveness for . . . a noble person whom we have lost at a time when we really needed him. Goodbye, Bassem Sabry.”
Tributes also poured in from other journalists and bloggers. Foreign Policy contributor Eric Trager tweeted, “My friend @Bassem_Sabry was a great Egyptian patriot,” adding that he “was a voice of reason during unreasonable times. He was analytical, compassionate, & had a great sense of humor. RIP.” While the BBC’s Lyse Douset wrote that she was “Very sad to hear of sudden death @Bassem_Sabry Big smile . . . big heart.”
Despite clearly gravitating toward the liberal end of the political spectrum, Sabry was well known and popular for not letting his political views skew his analyses of events in Egypt and the region. Middle East analyst and commentator H. A. Hellyer wrote on Twitter: “At a time when Egypt sorely needed voices that rejected destructive polarisation and mutual hatred, Bassem was one of the few that insisted on standing for far loftier principles.”
His funeral will take place on Wednesday at the Mostafa Mahmoud mosque in Cairo’s Mohandiseen district.