The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office confirmed that 32-year-old Nathan Posso was the man who killed himself in downtown Minneapolis's LaSalle Plaza last Thursday morning.
A memorial service for Posso featuring a potluck is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at the VFW in Uptown.
A longtime friend of Posso's, Mae Devitt, described Nathan's death as "a huge loss for Minneapolis," adding that Posso, a graffiti artist who lost an arm in an accident that occurred while he was spray-painting a train as a teenager, was friends with many in the Uptown and West Bank areas of the city.
"He never was a disabled person -- he had a tall bike that only had one handle on it," Devitt said. "He rocked it, and he was wild, and it was beautiful to see."
"He could kick anybody's ass with one arm," Devitt added, a smile perceptible in her voice.
Another longtime friend, Forrest Wozniak, said Posso will be remembered as "the original social network."
"He kept us all together as so many of us wandered away and became relegated to the boring obligations of adulthood," Wozniak said, adding that Posso will also be remembered for the affection he showed his friends' children.
"A lot of beautiful strong women with children who knew him, if they had to pick a word for Posso, it'd be 'Uncle,'" Wozniak said. "I think that's more important to point out than his love of graffiti or beer. There's a whole slideshow that's being put together [for the memorial] of him just holding friends' babies."
Another friend, Carissa Coudray, said Posso's "thing" was "taking care of his friends."
"He would show up at someone's house with cheeseburgers -- to feed their dogs, not people," Coudray said. "He just cared about being good to his friends and being around his friends and helping people out, and contributing something always."
Devitt said Posso's friends threw a party in his honor last night. She was particularly moved by one attendee, who, alluding to Posso's suicide, said, "No man is free if he can't open the door to his own cage."
"That's what he did," Devitt said, adding that Posso struggled with alcohol and heroin addiction for the past five years or so. "He went out on his own terms. He didn't want addiction attached to his name."
(For more, click to page two.)
Since his suicide, more than $10,000 has been raised in Posso's name on a Give Forward page. (Click here if you're interested in donating.) Funds not used for Posso's funeral and memorial service will be donated to a local youth homeless shelter, per a request from Posso's mother.
Posso, however, wasn't homeless at the time of his death, Devitt said. He was staying in south Minneapolis with a friend who had two young children.
"Posso just kinda worked odd jobs," she said. "You'd always be wondering how he was getting by. He'd have his food stamp card and four bucks in his pocket, but he got by thanks to his friends."
The day before his suicide, Posso posted a farewell message on his Facebook page. Devitt, paraphrasing the post, said it said something along the lines of, "It's been a good run, you guys, and seeya on the flipside."
Worried about him, a friend called Posso later that night to make sure everything was all right.
"Posso said, 'I'm at a party right now man, I'm not going to do anything weird,'" Devitt, conveying the conversation the mutual friend had with Posso the last night of his life, said. "It was a lie. I think he had already made up his mind and he didn't want to worry us."
Just hours later, Devitt and other friends received news of Posso's suicide.
"He didn't die a junkie -- he died sad, and lost, and tired," Devitt said. "But the whole city loves this guy. We watched him fall apart and go from having teeth to no teeth at all in a year's time, so initially what took his life was drugs, but you know what, he went out in his own way."
As for the reason Posso chose to take his own life in the skyway-connected LaSalle Plaza, some speculated he might've just left a nearby AA meeting, while others said it might've had something to do with him having a locker at the YMCA in the building. Nobody, however, knows for sure.
"He lived in his shoes for the past 15 years, just hopping around everywhere," Coudray said. "We joked on Friday that people talk about the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, well, it was the Two Degrees of Posso. He knew everybody and impacted everybody's life, whether it was positively or negatively."
"He was a true friend despite his crazy party life," Coudray continued. "I know nobody is going to forget that kid."