Hundreds got together Thursday night to honor a local teen who received celebrity support while dying of cancer. Cooper Ricciardi was just 18 when he died of leukemia on Tuesday. 13 Action News attended his vigil Thursday and witnessed how loved Cooper was and still is.
"Whenever Cooper came, everyone was always incredibly excited," said Student Body President Anthony Martinez. "He was always with a smile, just like his mother had said, he definitely was a personality. He was hilarious."
Cooper was diagnosed with leukemia back in 2013 and he never stopped fighting.
"He brought hope to so many people," said Martinez. "He brought hope to my family for us to continue fighting against cancer and I can never repay him for that."
A few days before Cooper died, athletes and other stars around the country learned about Cooper's terminal illness and sent him video messages wishing him well.
"I know many people just loved him," said Martinez. "Cooper honestly changed so many lives and he taught us so many things. But I think the greatest thing he taught us was to always have hope."
Hundreds showed their support for the 18-year-old Thursday night. They lit candles and shared memories. Cooper's mom took a turn too.
"I'm so thankful that you're all here tonight," said Cooper's mom. "It means so much to me in my heart because I never realized what a good kid I had. I mean, I knew he was awesome. But this is like, amazing and all his friends, you guys are amazing."
Cooper's mom says his service will be at the end of April. She wants to remind people, it will be a celebration of life, not a funeral.