The death of 35-year-old Tobi Wong over Memorial Day weekend came as a shock to the design community. Friends, fans, and colleagues reacted with disbelief when the designer’s death was ruled a suicide. New York Times writer Alex Williams explored “The Mysteries of Tobias Wong” in a Sunday Styles feature that remembers Wong’s elegant wit and elaborate pranks while illuminating the circumstances surrounding his tragic end. Wong suffered from serious sleep disorders, including chronic sleepwalking. “During episodes, Mr. Wong would rise from bed in a zombielike trance and perform elaborate tasks (bill clients, make funny outfits for his cats) that require agency and concentration, if not full consciousness. At times, his sleep problems took the form of a related disorder that researchers call sleep terrors—essentially, a half-waking nightmare state that the subject is unable to snap out of,” writes Williams. “Given this history, many people who were close to him believe that his death was not an act of will, but, like other sleepwalking episodes, a bizarre out-of-character act that ended tragically.”
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