UC Berkeley alumnus and Berkeley resident Brendan McManus, described as a brilliant researcher and caring friend, was found dead on Saturday. He was 27 years old.
After being reported missing on Tuesday, McManus was found in the Oakland Hills on Saturday. Authorities have yet to determine a cause of death.
Classmates of McManus speak fondly of him, remembering his incredible intelligence, constant generosity and distinctive laugh that put everyone at ease.
McManus majored in chemistry and was deeply involved in research.
“He was just a genius in the chemistry department. They considered him their starling,” said Igor Tregub, a friend and freshman-year suitemate of McManus.
McManus’ work in the lab drew him to research opportunities in China and Stockholm, Sweden. Although campus records do not indicate McManus received a degree, he continued his research for many years after leaving campus.
His position in Stockholm coincided with an interest in Scandinavian studies, which he also pursued on campus. He produced music in his spare time and was widely passionate about many subjects, including bioengineering, economics and football.
“He knew so much about everything,” said Diana Klochkova, a classmate and friend of McManus. “He was a chem major, and I was an econ major, but he was sending me emails about econ stuff that I didn’t even understand.”
Despite his talents, McManus was also incredibly humble.
“He didn’t feel the need to brag about his achievements to everyone,” said friend and freshman-year suitemate Jen Sanderson.
Sanderson recalled a fond memory of once eating dinner with McManus.
“He was a chem major but, just for fun, took a bioengineering class,” Sanderson said. “No one at the table could figure out who (in the entire class) had gotten the one perfect score on the test. After all the engineers left, Brendan pulled out his perfect score.”
McManus was also admired for his generosity. He helped friends put together computers and printers.
“Brendan was calm, self-assured and relaxed, which people were just sort of naturally drawn to,” Sanderson said. “He put everyone at ease.”
Friends and family will be holding private memorials Friday.