Man falls 23 stories to his death at Diplomat Hotel

By John Turchin, Crime Specialist, jturchin@local10.com
Barbara A. Besteni, Managing Editor, Local10.com, barb@local10.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:42:20 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 19 2013 11:20:12 AM EST

Police identify the Northwestern Universtiy medical professor who plunged 23 stories to his death after falling through the glass ceiling at the Westin Diplomat Hotel.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -

Police identified the Northwestern Universtiy medical professor who plunged 23 stories to his death after falling through the glass ceiling at the Westin Diplomat Hotel on Sunday.

The man was identified as 46-year-old Piotr Kulesza, an associate professor of pathology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. His wife, Dr. Agnieszka Ardelt, traveled to Hollywood to identify his body, according to her assistant.

"Peter was a remarkable colleague, who will be remembered for his infectious enthusiasm and energy," pathology department chair Dr. William Muller said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to Peter’s family; to all his colleagues in the Department of Pathology; and the staff of the NMH Cytopathology laboratory and the Pathology Core Facility, who had the pleasure of working with him. He will be sorely missed."

A statement from Northwestern said that Kulesza, who was known as Peter, was attending a conference at the hotel and has been a professor at the university since 2009. A native of Warsaw, Poland, Kulesza previously served on the faculties of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Alabama. A memorial service will be held in the near future.

Word spread fairly quickly among the hotel guests about the body that was found in the main lobby, next to the hotel's bar, about midnight Sunday but no one seemed to know how it happened.

Listen: First 911 call | Second 911 call

"There's a guest in the lobby area. I think they hurt themselves pretty bad," said one 911 caller.

"He fell through the ceiling and he's not moving," said a second 911 caller.

Shattered panels of glass littered the hotel lobby floor and gaping hole could be seen in the ceiling high above.

"I can't even imagine from the 23rd floor crashing down through a glass atrium and landing as hard as he did," said David Kubiliun. "We were all pretty devastated, pretty stunned."

Kubiliun was at the hotel bar with friends at the time.

"All of the sudden, we hear this explosion, and this cloud of smoke -- but what it was, it was clouds of glass, glass all over the place," he said. "We didn't know if it was a bomb... but while we're on the floor, I look to the left and one of the guys that was sitting with us said, 'Oh my God, oh my God,' and I looked over and there was this body right -- facedown -- right next to the chair where we had been sitting."

Police don't suspect foul play, but haven't ruled whether the fall was an accident or intentional.

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