Florida teen who drowned while saving a mother and child mourned as hero

MIAMI (WSVN/CNN) - A Florida teen is being remembered as a hero.

Cristian Burgos, 17, was at historic Virginia Key Beach Park. Monday when he jumped into the ocean to save a mother and her 9-year-old son in trouble.

Strangers immediately jumped into the ocean to pull Burgos to the shore. Tragically, he did not survive.

A memorial was held for a young man who embodies what it truly means to be a hero.

“I’m really proud of him. It’s just, at the moment, it’s just really hard to feel that way, you know, because at the end of the day now, we lost somebody,” said Claudia Escobar, a cousin of Burgos.

Family and friends are heartbroken, and through their pain, they honored the life of Burgos Wednesday night.

His grandmother said he was always like that, with a willingness to save lives.

“I’m really alone right now. It’s really hard to describe how I feel. As you can see, we’re all not in a really good place,” Escobar said.

“As a teacher, to lose a student and then to see the reaction of all the other students, too, it’s been devastating,” Veronique Toussaint said.

Burgos was a senior at Booker T. Washington High School. Teachers said he was a role model and an exceptional young man with a special spirit.

“You’re going to leave a legacy to his peers for that to follow footsteps and just be there whenever there’s a need," Dr. Nelson Fernandez said of Burgos.

Family, friends and classmates said no one will ever forget the selfless act he made to help two people he didn’t know.

A wake for Burgos is being held on Sunday.

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