'I'm living happily and learning to play the guitar': Miami cannibal victim Ronald Poppo describes life a year on from the horrific attack by Rudy Eugene that left him with 75% of his face chewed off

In a video released by hospital staff to mark a year since the horrific attack, Ronald Poppo smiled and spoke publicly for the first time

The homeless victim of last year’s Miami cannibal attack is now “living happily” in hospital, where he is learning to play the guitar while continuing treatment for the shocking facial injuries he suffered.

In a video released by hospital staff to mark a year since the horrific attack, Ronald Poppo smiled and spoke publicly for the first time, thanking “the outpouring of people in the community” and saying he “will always be grateful” for the care and support he has received.

Although the attack has left him completely blind, doctors say Mr Poppo has been working with occupational therapists to learn how to look after himself. He has also started learning to play the guitar and practices daily.

Mr Poppo, who had been living on the streets for 30 years prior to the gruesome attack in May last year, subsequently spent a month in hospital. Since then he has been living at the Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he recently celebrated his 66th birthday.

The initial attack left Mr Poppo with around 75 per cent of his face bitten off after another Miami resident, Rudy Eugene, beat him unconscious, stripped him naked and began chewing his face.

Eugene was eventually shot and killed by police officers who claimed he growled at them when they shouted at him to stop attacking Mr Poppo.

Although it was widely assumed Eugene had been high on bath salts or other psychedelic drugs at the time of the attack, a toxicology report later revealed he only had marijuana in his system. As a result, the real motive for the attack is unlikely ever to emerge.

The case made headlines around the world, with extremely graphic images of Mr Poppo’s injuries being shared online. Much of the damage occurred around the top of Mr Poppo’s face, especially around his eyes and nose and has required several operations to begin to rebuild.

Although Mr Poppo no longer has eyes, the only other obvious sign of the extensive facial injuries he suffered are on his nose - where an open wound is still present and reconstructive surgery is yet to be completed.

Signing off at the end of the video clip released by the hospital yesterday, Mr Poppo says: “Thanks for contributing and helping out. People in my predicament need to be helped out and I am sure there are people also that have the same type of predicament”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue