Tributes as brave blinking poet Adam dies

Tributes have been paid after the death of an Edinburgh schoolboy who won international fame with his poetry, despite only being able to communicate by blinking his eyelids after he was paralysed as an infant.

Adam Bojelian with mum Zoe. Picture: Greg Macvean

Adam Bojelian was born with cerebral palsy and lost all movement aged just ten months, but won a global audience for his poems published online.

Mother Zoe announced the 15-year-old had passed away by posting a photo on Twitter with the hashtag #braveadam.

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The schoolboy had to painstakingly write letter by letter, blinking to indicate the right one as Ms Bojelian read out the alphabet. His compositions won fans including Hollywood star Ewan McGregor, and one of his poems was turned into an iTunes hit by a professional composer.

In 2011, his mother revealed how Adam’s unique way of communicating was discovered.

“Adam was about one when he went to a playgroup for children with disabilities,” she said. “They used to sing If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands. Adam couldn’t clap his hands, but I noticed every time they said ‘clap your hands’ he blinked.

“As time went on it became clearer he was blinking when we asked him questions, and as he got older he counted by blinking.

“Over time it became obvious that’s what he was doing.”

Wellwishers on Twitter, where Adam’s mum helped him keep the world regularly updated on his poetry as well as his struggles with illness via his @Adsthepoet account, paid respects in their hundreds, including many NHS staff and charity workers who had come to know Adam’s story.

Sharon Mayor wrote: “So sorry but certain Adam’s words, fight and spirit – his legacy now – will help other vulnerable sick children in his position.”

Dr Umesh Prabhu said: “Simply can’t stop crying. Learnt so much and touched so many hearts. #respect #humanity #love.”

Louise Macdonald, chief executive of youth charity YoungScot, said: “Everyone who met @Adsthepoet was so inspired by his amazing poetry & spirit – a privilege to honour him. Shine bright #braveadam”

Figures from the political world also paid their respects, with Scottish Government minister Humza Yousaf writing: “Deeply saddened hear passing of @Adsthepoet love to all family & friends. Today world is a little bleaker having lost a true inspiration.”

MSP Mark McDonald said: “Such sad news, an inspirational young man who touched many directly & indirectly & will not be forgotten”.

Ex-MSP Hugh O’Donnell posted: “@Adsthepoet God Bless young sir. RIP.”

The day before he passed away, Adam was awarded an Inspirational Champion award by charity Young Epilepsy for his work representing young people suffering from the condition. His mother posted an image of the award being presented to him at his hospital bed on social media.