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Tributes have been paid to a popular community leader in Austin, Minnesota, who his family says was "brutally murdered" as he visited his sick father in Ethiopia.

A GoFundMe page launched by his family says that Chol Okey Opiew, 42, was killed in Pinyudo, Ethiopia, on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

"The motive for the murder is currently unknown but the government in Pinyudo is investigating and the suspect is currently in custody," the page says.

Tributes have already flooded in for Opiew, with Austin City Council member Oballa O Oballa, who posted on Facebook: "Chol is a long time Austin resident and great leader in Sudanese and Austin community at large.

"Chol went back home in Ethiopia few months ago to visit his family. We never thought that could be his last visit."

According to the GoFundMe page launched by one of his sons, Ochain Okey, Chol Okey Opiew was born in South Sudan and immigrated from Ethiopia to the United States more than 20 years ago "to pursue a better life."

He was the first chairperson of the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) chapter in Austin, and "advocated for peace in Sudan until South Sudan gained its independence in 2011."

"He was very involved with the community: working multiple jobs, being involved with the Anyuak congregation, interpreting for families in the public school systems," his son wrote.

"He always lived life by example and was a role model to a lot of people in the community. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Winona State University in 2018 and planned on using it back home in Africa."

Among those paying tribute are the Austin Packers Boys Basketball team, for whom son Cham Okey currently plays, and other sons Okey Okey and Opiew Okey also place.

State Rep. Patricia Mueller (R-Austin) posted: "Chol was a friend. I taught his children and it was evident how proud he was of his kids. This news is devastating."

You can find the GoFundMe for the family of Chol Okey Opiew here.

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