Professor who announced retirement after racist and sexist tweets died by suicide

UNCW's Mike Adams hadn't been heard from for days, before deputies found him dead inside his bedroom.

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By David K. Li

A college professor, whose rhetoric had been labeled "vile" and "hateful" by his own university, died by suicide, police said Monday.

New Hanover County Sheriff's deputies last week were asked to check on University of North Carolina Wilmington professor Mike Adams, who hadn't been heard from or seen in a few days.

"Once they were able to gain access to the home, deputies found the homeowner, Mike Adams, deceased in a bedroom," Lt. Jerry Brewer said in a statement Monday.

"Detectives began their investigation in partnership with the medical examiner, and it was ascertained that" Adams died by suicide, Brewer added.

Adams taught sociology and criminology and was well-known on campus for racist and sexist tweets and other commentary, including about Muslims, gays and efforts to fight the coronavirus.

That extensive history prompted UNCW on June 5 to call out his "hateful," "distasteful" and "vile" language. Then weeks later on June 29, the school announced that Adams had decided to retire Aug. 1.

The 55-year-old Adams, who lived alone, is survived by his brother, according to Brewer.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

Janelle Griffith contributed.