By Maha Ellawati and Tom Westcott.
Benghazi/Tripoli, 6 November 2013.
A Canadian teacher who worked at the International School of Benghazi died yesterday from natural causes.
James Scratch, a 56 year-old humanities teacher, was taken to Benghazi Medical Centre (BMC) yesterday with a suspected heart condition and was pronounced dead by the duty doctor.
“He died of natural causes,” Manager of the International School, Adel Al-Mansouri told the Libya Herald. “We initially thought it was heart attack but the coroner has just finished the autopsy, and told us that it was a brain haemorrhage.” Scratch had complained of a severe headache for several days, but had apparently not sought medical attention.
“This could happen to anyone, at any time and in any place,” Mansouri said. He added that Scratch, who had been living in Libya for 18 months, loved Benghazi. “He felt safe and secure here and, when foreign nationals were advised to leave the city earlier in the year, he was one of our staff who wanted to stay,” he said.
Scratch would be missed by colleagues and students, Mansouri said, adding: “He had a good character and was a very nice man.”
Scratch’s family have been informed and the school is now in the process of arranging to return his body to Canada.
People on social media networks were quick to assume the worst when reports first surfaced that a Canadian national had died in Benghazi. Rumours were fuelled by the discovery, also yesterday, of a bomb outside the BMC, which was successfully defused.