Word of foreign service officer Sean Smith’s death in Benghazi, Libya, first broke in the online gaming world, where he was an avid player. The State Department confirmed Wednesday morning that he had been killed in an attack on the consulate Tuesday.
Alex Gianturco, a friend and leader of Smith’s “guild” in the multiplayer game EVE Online, hailed Smith late Tuesday — known online by his handle “Vile Rat” — as a dedicated public servant who was extremely influential within his community. On his EVE Online fansite, Gianturco posted a lengthy obituary that noted how Smith had used his professional diplomacy skills to become an influential leader within the game, which relies on complicated negotiations between factions. Gianturco recalled how Smith had to step away from the computer at times while posted in Iraq when the compound came under attack.
Vile Rat was a legendary spy and diplomat for Goonfleet. From Gianturco’s obituary:
The major media began reporting on the consulate and embassy attacks in Libya and Egypt, and I freaked out and then it turned out that it was my friend of six years who helped build this alliance into what it is today since, the very beginning, starting out as one of my agents and growing to become the single most influential diplomat in the history of Eve, or perhaps of any online game.
It seems kind of trivial to praise a husband, father, and overall badass for his skills in an internet spaceship game but that’s how most of us know him, so there you go.