Former Nottingham Forest midfielder

Former Nottingham Forest footballer, Derrick Otim has died aged 24 after he drowned in a lake in the US.

The English-born Ghanaian midfielder drowned in Lake Keowee, South Carolina, according to reports in America.

Tributes have been paid to the star player by Nottingham Forest FC and teammates, describing him as a ‘top lad’ who ‘always brought a smile to everyone’s faces’. 

Derrick Otim, 24, drowned in Lake Keowee, South Carolina, according to local reports
Derrick Otim, 24, drowned in Lake Keowee, South Carolina, according to local reports

Nottingham Forest FC has posted a tribute to the player, saying: ‘Rest in peace, Derrick.

‘NFFC are saddened to learn of the passing of former academy player Derrick Otim. The thoughts of everyone at the club go out to his friends and family at this tragic time.’

Otim’s former teammate, Matty Cash, tweeted in tribute: ‘RIP del, can’t believe I’m writing this.

‘Such a top lad who always brought a smile to everyone’s face when around him.’

Nottingham Forest Women’s FC player Alana Crawford also paid tribute to the player, writing on social media: ‘Life is so cruel. What a lovely soul you were. Everyone who knew you was so lucky to have known someone as lovely as you.

‘There are literally no words. Rest in peace.’

Fans have also paid tribute to the player, with one writing: ‘He was such a funny and happy lad! It’s devastating news.’

A second said: ‘Devastated to hear of the passing of Derrick Otim. A wonderfully talented footballer and an incredible human being. Life can be unbearably cruel.’

And a third wrote: ‘My heart is breaking Dez… For you, for your family and all your many many friends.

‘A smile that could light up any room. A personality that no-one could pick faults with. The kindest most gentle soul I ever had the pleasure of meeting.

‘Rest easy my wonderful friend.’ 

Otim had initially trained with Forest Academy, before moving to America for university four years ago.

The midfielder – who was well-known on the pitch at Xavier University – is thought to have recently graduated.

Lake Keowee was branded as the ‘most deadly body of water’ in South Carolina by a 2018 report, which said 32 people had lost their lives there within 25 years.

The man-made body of water was built more than 50 years ago, and is a popular place for boating, skiing and swimming.

The Oconee County side of the lake, which has reported 13 deaths compared to one on the Pickens side between 2011 and 2019, is popular as it has two country parks, a swimming and boating area, and a rocky outcrop used for jumping into the water.