Martin Manley hated waking up early, but on his 60th birthday he did -- or more likely, never went to sleep the night before.
At 5 a.m. he entered a police station parking lot in a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas, walked to a spot beneath a tree on its far south end and pulled out his phone.
He dialed 911.
He said this:
"I want to report a suicide at the south end of the parking lot of the Overland Park Police Station at 123rd and Metcalf."
Then, the blogger and former sports reporter for the Kansas City Star pulled out his Saturday Night Special, a .380 pistol, and shot himself in the head.
The statistics -- Manley loved statistics; his "efficiency index" is still used by the NBA to rate players -- tell us that about 150 other Americans committed suicide that day, that somewhere around 38,000 of them will do so this year.
But chances are none of those people provided the world such a detailed picture of the event, the when, where, why and how of it. Because for more than a year, Manley had been secretly building a sweeping, intricate website that meticulously explained just that. He set it to publish later on the day he died.
Call it death in the time of Facebook. Never before in the history of human communication have suicide notes been such a public affair, easily accessible to the masses and potentially lasting forever.
"Let me ask you a question," Manley wrote on his website, which he divided into 34 categories and 44 subcategories. "After you die, you can be remembered by a few-line obituary for one day in a newspaper when you're too old to matter to anyone anyway ... OR you can be remembered for years by a site such as this. That was my choice and I chose the obvious."
'A natural way to communicate'
Manley's site may be unique in its scope and tone, which could be described, in parts, as upbeat. But sharing death on the Web is not new.
In the early days of the Internet, reports sprung up of "Internet suicide clubs," built around websites and chat rooms where young people would discuss taking their own lives and, in some cases, make plans to meet and perform the act together.
It's unclear how prevalent the groups have ever been, although Manley wrote that he studied the pros and cons of various methods of suicide online.
In 2010, a Japanese man live-streamed his own suicide, hanging himself as users of an online chat forum alternately urged him to seek help or egged him on. A morbid image of the 24-year-old man apparently hanging from a horizontal rod made the rounds online afterward.
Two years earlier, a Florida teen similarly trained a webcam on himself as he died in bed, after posting a suicide note on his blog in which he wrote that he had taken a drug overdose.
Lawrence Calhoun, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, said the reasons people want to share their deaths on the Web appear to be, in some ways, common sense.
"First, young people have grown up using social media, so for them that is just a natural way of communicating with other people," he told CNN. "Second, posting one's thoughts on social media is likely to reach a lot more people than simply leaving one hard copy note; so, perhaps one reason to leave a 'suicide note' on social media is to reach as many people as possible."
At 60, Manley was no digital native. But the Web seems to have been perfectly tailored for someone like him. He reveled in spending long hours alone at the computer, poring over data and sharing his findings with folks in far-flung places who were similarly interested in the esoteric minutia of crunching sports numbers.
"I have communicated with hundreds of readers over the years and I've made a lot of internet friends," Manley wrote in his final blog post. "I'm impressed that there really are intelligent people still left out there considering the decline in our educational standards."
'I didn't want to die'
At least according to his site, Manley's death was also a numbers game.
He claimed to be in good health and happy. He was financially sound, with an investment in gold worth $200,000.
He said he wasn't depressed -- "anyone who says I was is either ignorant or a liar" -- and sang in his church choir, enjoyed hobbies like his monthly poker game and claimed to not be lonely.
He said he just decided 60 was old enough. His most productive years were behind him, he feared the infirmity of old age and simply wanted to go out at a time and in a manner of his own choosing.