TRIBUTES have been pouring in for a highly rated American youth leader who has died after being hit by a car in the Capital.
Edinburgh University student Ameen Merchant was critically injured during the accident near Nicolson Square last month. The 19-year-old was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and later to the specialist trauma unit at the Western General but died on Friday.
A 20-year-old girl was also hit by the blue Volkswagen Passat around 4.45pm on Saturday, September 29 but escaped with minor injuries.
Mr Merchant’s parents had travelled from California to be at the bedside of the politics and history student, who arrived in the city several weeks ago and had settled into his flat on the Royal Mile.
A former youth governor of California, Mr Merchant was said to have inspired those he worked with at the organisation and established himself as a young politician. A friend said he was “White House-bound”.
He created YouTube videos for teenagers explaining how politics works, with one capturing Mr Merchant’s election victory as youth govenor featuring thousands of cheering supporters in a packed election hall.
Dozens of friends posted tributes on Twitter.
Kelsey Hess wrote: “Rest in peace to our former youth governor Ameen Merchant. You inspired me & thousands of others, and we will always always remember you.”
Ved Topkar, another friend, wrote: “I’m so shocked to hear of Ameen L Merchant’s untimely passing. He was a fellow member of the CONA and Youth Governor families, and I regret not knowing him as well as some of my friends.
“His impact on said families was profound, and we will always remember him for his keen insight and true service to those he represented. My thoughts go out to his family and friends. Rest in peace.”
Jordan Packer wrote: “You inspired me unlike any other. Rest in Peace Ameen Merchant. You truly transformed the lives of 2500 teens.”
Casey Hogan, who had also been involved in the debating organisation, added: “Ameen Merchant was White House-bound from the beginning. Accomplished so much in little time. RIP.”
Mr Merchant’s body is expected to be repatriated over the next few days.
The driver of the Passat stopped at the scene and is assisting police with their inquiries. Officers are urging anyone who witnessed the collision to come forward.