'I will never let go': brother's letters of lament to tragic Tyler

James Clementi's article on Out.
James Clementi's article on Out.
Jumped ... Tyler Clementi, 18, pictured on his Facebook page.

Jumped ... Tyler Clementi, 18, pictured on his Facebook page.

Tyler Clementi felt alone when he jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge after being  outed as gay by his college roommate.

But he was not alone: the 18-year-old's death inspired thousands to rally in the US, millions followed his story and his family got hundreds of letters of support.

This tragic irony is one of many things that continues to trouble his grieving older brother James.

Tyler's suicide came after his roommate at Rutgers University, New Jersey, allegedly secretly filmed him kissing a man and released the video on the internet.

His death in September 2010 made headlines around the world and even prompted President Barack Obama to speak out against bullying and homophobia.

James Clementi has written a series of moving letters to Tyler, published in Out, alongside childhood portraits of the almost identical siblings.

James, also gay, wrote that he and Tyler came out to each other amidst fourth of July celebrations, after years of hiding their sexuality from each other.

"It was great because we had always known, but now we could talk about it. I saw so much relief and genuine happiness in his face. It felt like the beginning."

James described his brother's devotion to music from a young age, having mastered violin, piano and even harmonica.

He said while growing up, he often could not imagine his own future.

"But when I imagined your future, I saw the world at your feet. You were supposed to show me up, do it better than I could," one of the letters said.

"I wanted that for you. I saw amazing professional accomplishments for you, but also personal ones."

"You are youth, potential just beginning to unfold.

"You are blood, my connection to the past, and my hope for the future.

"You are beauty, fleeting and marvellous. I know there was pain, and I'm sorry for that, but you were joy, too.

"Your voice, your smile, tiny hands clinging to mine. I will never let go."

James wrote that he wished Tyler could have seen how he'd inspired others.

"I wish you could read the hundreds of letters we got, hear the thousands who rallied and marched for you, know the millions who followed your story on the 6 o'clock news.

"You were never alone; it just felt like it.

"When you were here with me, you had no idea how important you were, and it took your death to make that point. Now you are gone."

Tyler's roommate Dharun Ravi, accused of using a webcam to spy on Tyler kissing a man, is facing trial on charges of bias intimidation, considered a hate crime, and using a webcam to invade the privacy of the two men.

He is also accused of trying to cover up spying on the men.

President Obama recorded a video for the It Gets Better movement, which supports gay and lesbian teenagers, after Tyler's death and other similar cases.

"When you're teased or bullied it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself for being different, for not fitting in with everybody else.

"What I want to say is this: you are not alone."

Tyler's family have also set up a foundation to help decrease the suicide rate among gay teenagers.

"When I was growing up, if a couple of kids called you a name maybe the class heard about it and that was the end of it; now the world hears about it and that's the power of the internet," Tyler's father Joe told CBS last year.

"You realise that there's no other feeling that's worse than the loss of a child and we don't want parents to the have the same kind of experience that we've had.

"I think he would be very proud and I think he would be very happy as to what we are doing.

"My only wish is that, I wish he was here to help us."

* Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800