Irtaza Hussain,22, found dead in Chigwell was “talkative, intelligent and passionate”

Irtaza Hussain with Professor Richard Dawkins

Irtaza Hussain with Professor Richard Dawkins - Credit: Archant

Friends of a young man found dead in Chigwell aged just 22, paid tribute to a “sensitive and beautiful soul”.

Irtaza Hussain was found dead in Chigwell on September 11. Picture: Facebook

Irtaza Hussain was found dead in Chigwell on September 11. Picture: Facebook - Credit: Archant

Irtaza Hussain died after what friends said was a long battle with depression, and he was remembered this week by those who knew him as talkative, intelligent and passionate.

He was an active member of the secularist movement in London and often asked questions at public meetings and debates.

His friend Sufian Ahmed said: “Irtaza spoke very passionately about his love for science, music and his fight for a more secular society.”

Mr Hussain was also mourned by the head of the British Humanist Association, who called his death a tragedy.

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Police found his body in Hainault Forest opposite Lakeland Close at about 4.20pm on Wednesday of last week. The death is not being treated as suspicious.

Mr Hussain, who worked in his father’s furniture shop, lived in Valence Avenue, Dagenham, with his mother, father and younger brother and sister.

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His relatives told the Recorder they were distraught by his death. His funeral was on Friday in Barkingside.

The Ex-Muslims Forum, run by people in London with Islamic backgrounds who are now non-religious, said: “Our forum is a community and today we lost a friend. A very sensitive and beautiful soul took his life after battling depression. RIP Irtaza.”

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: “He was an intelligent and thoughtful young man who I was lucky to meet and speak with on many occasions, having first met him when we were on the BBC together arguing for a liberal and secular approach to education as against a strict religious one. He was a keen attendee of BHA events and I am glad he had the joy of meeting a number of his heroes there, from Richard Dawkins to Jim Al-Khalili.”

An inquest was opened on Friday and adjourned.

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