Remembering UW student Henry Mackaman - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Remembering UW student Henry Mackaman


MADISON (WKOW)-- A University of Wisconsin-Madison student has died after contracting a devastating and rare strain of bacterial meningitis. 21-year-old Henry Mackaman was a Senior Economics and English double-major at UW.

Friends and family say they'll always remember Mackaman for his smile and love of music.

"Stuff just came easily to him. He was kind of a natural guitar player," Henry's uncle Dan Mackaman explains. "He effortlessly would pick up these tunes and he was a great student."

Mackaman was slated to graduate from UW-Madison this May after only attending school for three years. It's a monumental achievement, but somehow he still found time for music and his St. Paul based band Phantom Vibration.

"They would do their parts in their dorm rooms and then e-mail that and then the next night someone else would work on the song," Mackaman says. "It just shows their passion and everything technology has to offer."

When he couldn't play music, friends say Henry loved to talk about it. He started a show at the campus radio station and eventually found a job where he could talk about music all he wanted.

"He was writing for us. He wrote the history today in music posts on our site," Murfie Music Co-Founder Preston Austin says.

At you can find Henry's daily blog where he shared interesting facts about that day in music history. On Thursday, his last entry went online the very same day he died.

"It has hit us somewhat hard as an office. It's not an easy thing and totally unexpected," Austin explains.

The illness that took Henry's life first hit him on Saturday when he was treated and released for a headache, but just two days later things got worse.

"When he got to the hospital and was filling out the papers he couldn't really hold a pen. Shortly after that he was having a seizure and slipped into a coma after that and never came out," Dan Mackaman says.

Friends filled Henry's hospital room with the sounds of accordions, guitars and ukeles, providing tributes to the man who lived his life for music. Several friends Henry met while studying in Europe decided to Skype with family members and see Henry for the last time.

The Mackaman family says that despite being one credit shy for graduation UW-Madison plans to award Henry his degree this May. Funeral services will held next weekend in St. Paul Minnesota.

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