UT-Austin student Nicky Cumberland dies after four weeks on life support

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Business honors, finance and radio-television-film junior Nicholas Cumberland, right, died Tuesday after remaining on life support for four weeks.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jake Groesbeck

Update (5:10 p.m.): The vigil for Nicky Cumberland has changed locations. It will now be held at Gregory Plaza at 7:30 p.m.

Original story: Business honors, finance and radio-television-film junior Nicholas Cumberland died Tuesday at Houston Methodist Hospital after remaining on life support for four weeks. Cumberland was twenty years old and is survived by his sister, brother, parents and girlfriend Clio. 

Cumberland and five other UT Austin students were involved in a car crash on the morning of Sept. 30. The students were returning from an annual Texas Cowboys retreat near Killeen when the crash occurred. The truck they were in flipped multiple times, injuring everyone inside. Cumberland sustained brain damage and was transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple. He was later transferred to Houston Methodist Hospital. 

A vigil was held at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house late Tuesday night. Cumberland was a member of the fraternity. Another vigil will be held tomorrow at the Tower. This story will be updated with the time of the event when it becomes available.  

“He’s one of my best friends,” business honors and Plan II senior Rajya Atluri said shortly after the accident. “He’s one of those friends who will text you to ask, ‘How’s your week going? Just wanted to check in on you.’ … (He’s) a genuinely good and kind person.”

While Cumberland was still on life support, Jake Groesbeck, a childhood friend of Cumberland, described him as selfless and influential. 

“I have never seen him hesitate to drop what he is doing to help his fellow peers,” Groesbeck said. “He is a man full of love and joy.”

Cumberland was a committee member of Genesis, Chase the World, and the Student Consulting Initiative, and a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Texas Cowboys. He was also a member of Texas Cheer and Young Life.

A GoFundMe was launched by Groesbeck for Cumberland immediately after the incident. It raised $150,000 within a month. A custom T-shirt has also been created in his memory and has raised more than $3,000 in sales.  

“We are all devastated by the accident,” Texas Cowboys foreman Matthew Sherman said in an email. “We stand with his family and friends in supporting him during this difficult time. Out of respect for Nicky’s family, we don’t have anything further to add at this time but are grateful for the outpouring of support we have experienced.” 

An email account, fornickyandclio@yahoo.com, was started so people could send Cumberland’s family and girlfriend memories and stories to read. A drop box in the Business Honors Program Office, CBA 2.312, has been designated for letters to the Cumberlands.

UT Student Government observed a moment of silence in memory of Cumberland Tuesday night. 

“He’s one of the most caring people I’ve ever met,” said Colton Becker, student body president. “He’s made such an impact on so many people.” 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Chapelwood United Methodist Church at 11140 Greenbay Street, Houston. Following that, there will be a celebration of life from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive, Houston. An official obituary for Cumberland can be found here.

“The Texas Cowboys Family is heartbroken over the loss of our friend and New Man, Nicky Cumberland,” Texas Cowboys foreman Matthew Sherman said in an email. “His time with us was short, yet impactful, and we know he will be desperately missed by many friends, and especially by his beloved family. We will work to honor his legacy in continuing our tradition of service and giving our best back to Texas.”

A scholarship fund has been created in Nicky's honor.

Correction: An earlier version of this article failed to mention that Cumberland is survived by his brother in addition to other family members. It also said he was a board member for Genesis, when he was in fact a committee member. The Texan regrets this error.