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Florida teen who drowned saving mother and child mourned as hero

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MIAMI -- A Florida teen is being remembered as a hero, WSVN reports.

17-year-old Cristian Burgos was at the beach when he jumped into the ocean to save a mother and child in trouble.

He didn't survive.

A memorial was held for Burgos, who his friends and family say embodied 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 his life Wednesday night.

His grandmother says he always had a willingness to save lives.

On Monday, he risked his life to save a mother and her 9-year-old son at historic Virginia Key Beach Park.

“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.

But Burgos needed help himself.

Strangers immediately jumped into the ocean to pull him to the shore.

“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 Sunday.

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