A budding filmmaker who planned on spending a week experiencing life on the streets as a homeless person was found dead inside a boarded up hostel in Newcastle (UK) last Wednesday morning (Apr 3). This was just three days after he posted a video to YouTube explaining his experiment, which he planned on turning into a documentary.

26-year-old Lee Halpin’s friends were shocked to learn that their comrade had died all of a sudden. No official cause of death has been revealed yet, but Halpin’s friends believe that he froze to death, as temperatures in the city have been dropping as low as -4 degrees Celsius (about 25 degrees Fahrenheit) overnight recently.

“I am about to go and spend a week being homeless in the West End of Newcastle,” 26-year-old Lee Halpin said in a video dated April 4th 2013. “I will sleep rough, scrounge for my food, access all the services that other homeless individuals in the West End use. I will interact with as many homeless people as possible and immerse myself in that lifestyle as deeply as I can.”

In the 2-and-a-half minute clip, Halpin — who studied creative writing, regularly appeared on local radio, and founded a magazine that covered arts and culture in the city called “Novel” — said he was doing the documentary so that he could use it to apply for a spot on a the highly competitive investigative journalism program for the UK’s Channel 4 news team.

His friend Daniel Lake told the Newcastle Chronicle that he had last spoken to him on Saturday. On Sunday, Lee posted a message on Twitter asking his followers if anyone had a sleeping bag he could borrow.

“Lee was a great guy, a character and was well known,” said Lake. “His big things were creative writing and poetry. He was making a documentary about homeless people living in Newcastle’s West End … No one knows how he passed away, but we think it could have been hypothermia. He made the ultimate sacrifice trying to raise awareness about what was happening to other people.”


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