Student dies Wednesday after fall on sidewalk

By Alice Haymond

Brian Hardin loved people. He loved being around them, he loved joking with them, and his passion in research was to help them.

“If you knew Brian, he was a friend and you liked him,” said John Kibler, Hardin’s uncle. “He was outgoing,

charismatic, great guy.”

Hardin, a physiology graduate student, died Wednesday from traumatic brain injuries, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office. He was walking on the sidewalk when he tripped and fell on the corner of Woodland Avenue and East Maxwell Street at 4:33 a.m., according to the coroner.

An autopsy was performed yesterday but a toxicology report and other results will not be known for at least a month.

Hardin, 27, was taken to UK Medical Center and died at 2:16 p.m. No foul play is suspected, and Lexington police are investigating the death as an accident, according to the coroner.

Hardin visited his parents, who live in Lexington, on Tuesday, but Kibler said Hardin did not tell them what his plans were for the evening.

Those who worked with Hardin in the Reid Lab at UK said he added energy to the lab with his sense of humor.

Mike Reid, the chair of the Department of Physiology, said when he walked into the lab Hardin would turn to greet him with a wisecrack before continuing with his research.

“One of the things people remember about Brian is his sense of humor, his warmth and his affection for people, his openness toward them,” Reid said.

In his research, Hardin was passionate about doing something that would affect people, Reid said. He was looking into why people with chronic diseases, like heart failure and cancer, have weak muscles. He wanted to ease their fatigue and shortness of breath, Reid said.

“Brian was looking for a way that we could prevent this, that we could make people’s lives better,” Reid said.

The Lexington native had completed his undergraduate degree in physiology at UK and was about to finish his first year toward his physiology doctorate degree.

Reid said Hardin was very well respected among scientists. He had been published by international journals, and the lab had already received condolences from senior scientists in California, Florida and Liverpool, England.

“He knew people far beyond my lab or our department, and there are many, many people who will miss that boy,” Reid said.

One of the reasons Hardin knew so many people was because he was so outgoing and could relate to a lot of people; he had “street sense,” Reid said.

“He was very at home outside the laboratory,” Reid said.

His uncle said Hardin was very close to the family. His brother, Eric, was one of his best friends, Kibler said.

“Brian has always been a great kid and a great man,” Kibler said.

Hardin always reached out to people and wanted to help them, and Kibler said he did so on Wednesday as an organ donor.

“He’s going to be missed by everybody that ever knew him,” Kibler said. “We just hope that even with his passing, Brian would want to know that he is still helping.”

Hardin is the second UK student to die this week. Connie Blount, 18, was killed early Sunday when she was struck by a pickup truck at the intersection of South Broadway and West Maxwell Street. Police are still looking for the driver of the truck.

Hardin is survived by his parents, Richard and Sue Hardin; and his brother, Eric.

The funeral will be held at 12:30 p.m. Monday at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home on Harrodsburg Road. The visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday and at 10 a.m. Monday before the funeral.

Memorial contributions can be made to Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, 2201 Regency Road, Suite 601, Lexington, KY 40503.