The Daily Princetonian reports that 27-year-old Middletown native Bill Zeller, a Princeton grad student, passed away on Wednesday after attempting suicide on Sunday. The 4,000 word suicide note he left cited repeated sexual abuse as a child that he could never forget, and states that he thought about suicide for at least a year. Graduating from Middletown High School and then Trinity College, he was considered programmer of notable talent.
In contrast to the troubled person portrayed in the note, those closest to him remembered Zeller as a brilliant programmer, talented chef, devoted Boston Red Sox fan and someone who put his friends first. […]
Zeller completed several high-profile projects. He and Felten published research exposing serious security vulnerabilities of websites such as The New York Times, YouTube and ING Direct. Zeller also co-authored an influential paper arguing for increased government transparency online.
When asked to discuss Zeller’s work, however, colleagues focused on the dozens of smaller projects that he completed in the past few years, which ranged from the practical — such as Graph Your Inbox, a tool to analyze and visualize Gmail activity over time — to IsItChristmas.com, which reads “no” 364 days of the year.
You can read his final letter after the bump. He goes out of his way at the end to urge people to repost the letter in its entirety so that people can draw their own conclusions and so that he isn’t censored by his family.
He is being remembered at the site 1000Memories.
As Joel Johnson from Gizmodo noted in their coverage, “You can talk to people. You really can.”