A day after Austin Hudson-LaPore's body was recovered from Lake Michigan, the University of Chicago student's family gathered at the school to honor a young man they said was a statistics whiz and lover of science, cooking and meteorology.
"He would get up in the morning at 3 and turn on The Weather Channel," Hudson-LaPore's father, Gregg Lapore, said at a Thursday news conference. "He loved baseball and NASCAR because of stats ... and strategy."
The third-year student was last seen around 8:30 p.m. on June 12 at his apartment on the 5300 block of South Kimbark Avenue. It's suspected he may have gone outside to check out area storms, though he didn't take his wallet or cell phone.
His body was spotted early Wednesday in Lake Michigan at Oakwood Drive by a South Shore artist and fisherman.
"I looked to my right and I saw what appeared to be a log," recalled Eddie Hudson. "Me and my wife, we've been following it on the news, and I didn't think it was him because there was so much stuff going on. It could have been anyone."
LaPore's family expressed gratitude to those who searched for the young man, informed the public about his disappearance and ultimately found him. "To all of you, we are eternally grateful for helping us bring Austin home," Gregg LaPore said.
Going forward, they urged friends to keep his memory alive.
"One thing we ask of all of you is to live just a little bit larger to fill in some of the space he leaves behind," his mother, Laurie Hudson, said.