"I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!"
A UNCW Professor who agreed to resign last month over a series of controversial tweets has been found dead.
The body of Dr. Mike Adams, who taught criminology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, was discovered at his home at 2 p.m. on Thursday during a welfare check.
Adams was one week away from stepping down.
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Police did not reveal the cause of death; New Hanover County Sheriff's Office are investigating.
The 55-year-old sparked outrage in late May with his anti-COVID shutdown tweets, which were branded "vile and inexcusable" by the university, although it stopped short of firing him.
On May 28 he tweeted: "Don't shut down the universities. Shut down the non essential majors. Like Women's Studies."
The following day he tweeted: "This evening I ate pizza and drank beer with six guys at a six seat table top. I almost felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina. Massa Cooper, let my people go!"
He had also branded the state's democratic governor Roy Cooper as a "fascist", and said people who wear masks in public look like "fools".
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A Change.org petition to have him sacked garnered more than 60,000 signatures.
He eventually agreed he would step down on August 1, receiving more than $500,00 from the university for lost salary and benefits in doing so.
"Over the past several weeks, many of you have inquired about the status of a UNCW faculty member, Dr. Mike Adams, in light of the public attention generated by comments he made on his personal social media channels," Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said in a statement at the time.
"We can now share the update that after a discussion with Chancellor Sartarelli, Dr. Adams has decided to retire from UNCW, effective August 1, 2020."
Adams, a conservative political columnist, hit headlines after the 9/11 attacks, when a student attempted to sue him over access to his private emails, having asked for comment on the theory US foreign policy was to blame; the ensuing debate established that the emails of professors at public universities are not part of public record.
He also authored the 2008 book "Feminists Say the Darndest Things: a Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts 'Womyn' on Campus", and 2013's "Letters to a Young Progressive: How to Avoid Wasting Your Time Protesting Things You Don't Understand".
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