PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Friends and family, teammates and opponents all gathered at Union Baptist Church in Pascagoula Saturday morning for Brandon Rich's funeral.
The accomplished high school athlete died last Sunday in a boating accident on the Pascagoula River.
With heavy hearts, Brandon Rich's family moved toward the sanctuary, bearing the loss of a dear person. They were surrounded by people celebrating the life of the young man.
"We know he's gone. We know we're going to grieve. Bottom line, he's not hurting anymore," said high school senior Shaquille Riley.
Riley, along with four of the lost athlete's other teammates, stood tall, holding up the number four. That's the number Rich wore on the basketball court.
"I miss you and I love you," said Riley.
Hundreds gathered to pay their respects, saying they'll remember the good times.
"We were at the gym and he was playing with me, trying to put his stinky shoe in my face," said Kiaunda Calloway with a tear in her eye.
"One of the best people you could meet. Played around all the time. He never gave up on something he believed in and he was a great person," said Dashia Hardy.
Fifteen-year-old Kadesha Campbell wished she could say just one thing to Rich.
"I would tell him he was my crush," said Campbell.
The numbers, support and tears showed the love that surrounds Rich. But, Campbell says his death has left a void in many people's lives.
"Just wishing he was here. Wishing he could've come back home," said Campbell.
It was heart-felt gathering that many wish wasn't necessary. Still, together they said goodbye to the class clown, all-star athlete and friend.
"I miss you. Yeah miss you a lot too," said Riley.
While his life was taken too soon, they say he left a legacy that will live on a long time.