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19-Year-Old Cornell University Student Found Dead

Phillip Zukowski
Phillip Zukowski Photo Credit: Facebook

A teenage college student died in upstate New York at Ithaca Falls.

Phillip Zukowski, age 19, a sophomore at Cornell University who was studying computer science, was found dead on Saturday, May 8 near Ezra’s Tunnel in the Ithaca Falls Natural Area, Vice President for Student and Campus Life Dr. Ryan Lombardi announced.

The cause of Zukowski’s death is currently unknown. The New York City resident, from Queens, had transferred to Cornell from Grinnell College in Iowa last fall and was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity living in Becker House.

Officers from the Ithaca Police Department were called to the area around Ezra’s Tunnel at approximately 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, police said.

Detectives from the Ithaca Police Department are currently investigating the circumstances of his death, Lombardi said. Anyone who may have been in the area of N. Willard Way and Ezra’s Tunnel between 1 a.m. and 10 a.m. on May 8 has been asked to contact investigators by calling (607) 330-0000.

“It is very difficult to receive news of a loss in our community,” Lombardi posted in a message announcing Zukowski’s death. “Support meetings are being scheduled for the Cornell community, as well as organizations that Phillip was most closely engaged with. I encourage you to take time for self-care and to reach out to your support system.”

Zukowski’s brother, Matt, created a memorial page for his brother asking for photos or memories to share of him.

“Yesterday, I lost my little, and only, brother, Phillip Zukowski. I'm heartbroken and have no words. He was only 19 and had his whole life ahead of him. I hope I was the best big brother to him that one could possibly be. I'm going to miss him so, so much.”

"Phillip had a way of understanding what people were feeling without being told," the site states. "If he saw that someone felt uncomfortable or out of place, he would immediately go over and talk to them to make sure they felt included. It was never difficult to have a conversation with Phillip. 

"You could be serious one moment and then joking the next. He will always be incredibly loved and incredibly missed. He passed away as he lived - with care and concern for others above all else."

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