As he was laid to rest, friends and family remembered a Chicago boxer as a compassionate man with a warm smile who died on his quest for a national championship.
The 25-year-old died at a Philadelphia hospital two days after emergency surgery to repair a brain bleed sustained during a Friday night fight. It was the first time in more than three decades that boxing injuries killed a fighter in that city, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
"Francisco really did die doing what he loved to do. Ever since he was a little kid, he always dreamed of being a world champion, and he died on his quest to doing it," his friend, Frankie Tafoya said.
He was a former national Golden Gloves champion known as "Kid Aztec," and was especially prominent in the Mexican-American community.
After his death, his family donated his organs to five recipients, including a relative who needed a kidney transplant.
"He was a great person. A very giving person. I'm glad that he's able to live on in other people," said Tafoya.
Rodriguez is survived by his wife, their five-month-old baby girl, parents and two brothers.
An account has been established to help ease the family’s medical expenses. Donations can be made to the Francisco Rodriguez Estate at any Chase Bank location.