As many of you will know, last week, we lost one of the shining lights of our wonderful technical community. Abel Wang (aka. AbelSquidHead), sadly lost his fight against cancer.

The deeply personal, yet public post on Facebook about his passing from his wife Nina, is incredibly moving.

When I learned the news looking through my Twitter feed, it was awash with people saying goodbye, to a friend, colleague, advisor, and mentor. A close friend of mine knew Abel as all of these things, I knew what was happening to him, but like every who knew him, he spent his time comforting those who were close to him.

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The Tweet that Scott Hanselman posted, is a short one but I think captures everything I knew about Abel without ever actually having the distinct pleasure of meeting him. When I found out the news, like many people, I was heartbroken.

I recall towards the end of summer in 2020, visiting a friend, heading out for food and Abel called her, I followed my strict orders to keep quiet (just about), and wanted to just say hello. Even though I would have got a beating for it, I wish I had said something!

You can hear Abel talk about his cancer coming back in the upbeat way only Abel could with Scott Hanselman.

It sounds odd, because I wasn’t a friend, colleague, or mentor, I’d actually never spoken to him. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have an impact on me. Thanks to all the sessions I’ve seen Abel present, both in person and virtually, my knowledge is undoubedly better than before, I believe I’m a better person and presenter because of him as well. He was a mentor to me without me ever meeting him, I’m sorry I never got to say hello, and more importantly goodbye.

If you want to say goodbye to Abel, he was a huge supporter of women in computer science. Please consider a donation or purchase something from the store at the incredible organisation Girls Who Code.

If I can pick two things I’d learned from Abel, it’s that the right time is now, and don’t accept the defaults. If you would like to support Girls Who Code, consider buying a t-shirt with this famous phrase.

Thank you, and goodbye. Rest in peace.