A 20-year-old graduate of Naperville's Neuqua Valley High School and current junior at Southern Illinois University was among the eight people killed Friday when tens of thousands rushed the stage at the Astroworld Festival in Houston.
Jacob "Jake" Jurinek traveled to the concert with his friend and fellow Neuqua Valley graduate Franco Patino, who also died in Friday evening's stampede.
In a statement, Jurinek's family remembered their loved one for "his contagious enthusiasm, his boundless energy and his unwavering positive attitude."
"Always deeply committed to his family, he was affectionately known as 'Big Jake' by his adoring younger cousins, a name befitting of his larger-than-life personality," the statement read, in part.
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A junior at SIU Carbondale, Jurinek was pursuing his passion for art and media and worked as an intern for the university's athletic department.
Most of all, family said, Jake will be remembered as the best friend to his father, Ron Jurinek, noting the two were brought closer together following the passing of Jake's mother, Alison, in 2011.
"In the decade since, Jake and Ron were inseparable – attending White Sox and
Blackhawks games, sharing their love of professional wrestling, and spending weekends with extended family and friends at Jake’s favorite place, the family cottage in Southwestern Michigan," the family's statement continued.
Austin Lane, chancellor of SIU Carbondale, said in a statement the campus community is "brokenhearted to lose a member of the Saluki family" and extended the university's condolences to family and friends.
"Jacob was a creative, intelligent young man, with a promising career in journalism and advertising, he said in a statement, in part. "As we mourn this loss in our community, we will keep Jacob’s family and friends in our thoughts.”
Ron Jurinek, Jacob's father, said his family is devastated and left with a huge hole in their lives.
"...We’re comforted by the fact that the hundreds of people Jake touched over the years will carry a piece... his spirit with them," he said.