The University of St Andrews has paid tribute to a young American student who died last week in a tragic accident.
The body of 18-year-old Kieran McCann was found on Thursday afternoon below cliffs at The Scores on the foreshore near the Sealife Centre
He had been reported missing by friends when he failed to return to his accommodation at the David Russell Apartmentsafter a night out and was last seen in the early hours on Wednesday morning.
Hundreds of his fellow students had offered to join the police in searching the town.
University principal Louise Richardson broke the news to students and staff by email on Friday morning, saying the police search had ended in the “worst imaginable way”.
“Our worst fears were confirmed last night when Kieran was formally identified,” she wrote.
“While police are continuing their inquiries, everything we know suggests that he lost his life in a tragic accident.”
Keiran had joined the university last September from Windward School in Los Angeles.
He was studying economics and international relations and had completed just one term.
Ms Richardson continued: “By all accounts, even in his short time here, he took to his studies and extra-curricular activities with particular energy, enthusiasm and an infectious sense of humour. A keen ice hockey player, he played in goal for our team.
While she had not had the chance to get to know Kieran, she had been struck by the affection in which he was so clearly held by a very large group of friends.
She said the response to Kieran going missing, with more than 300 students volunteering to join the search, said a great deal about him and also about the quiet strength of the university community in St Andrews.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Kieran’s family in the US at this desperately sad time,” she said.
A memorial spot on The Scores was set up on Friday for floral tributes and photographs of the teenager.
Fellow student and friend Laura Navalta, writing on a “Find Kieran” Facebook site set up when he went missing, wrote: “On behalf of all of Kieran McCann’s friends at St Andrews, we want to thank each and every one of you who supported and searched for him.
“Words cannot even describe how much we, as well as his family, appreciate all the love and kindness that you all have shed on this horrific event.”