A west suburban high school dean's assistant was found dead in a tent at the Indianapolis 500 over the weekend, family and authorities tell NBC 5.
Friends and family say 38-year-old Adam Melchi, of Plano, was a huge fan of the annual race in Indianapolis. This past weekend he watched it and camped with friends near the speedway. But his wife, Sarah Melchi, says when he didn't return her calls, she knew something was unusual.
"I called like 26 times and the next thing I know the Plano Police Department was there and an officer had informed me that they found him," she said.
Melchi was found in a tent on Monday. His cause of death is unknown at this time, but police say they do not believe the death to be suspicious.
"I want everyone to know that he has a name. He has a family and he wasn't just some guy," Sarah Melchi said. "This was his 21st year. And that's why he went. This was his one thing a year that he always did."
Melchi leaves behind five children.
Best friend Josh Hartman told NBC 5 by phone Melchi was an "awesome, humble guy." Hartman was at the race Sunday with Melchi but left Sunday. Melchi stayed at the speedway to camp with other friends, Hartman said.
"He'd give the shirt off his back if you needed help," Hartman said. "I don't have any brothers, but Adam was the closest thing to a brother."
For the past 17 years Melchi served as a dean's assistant at East Aurora High School.
Principal Marina Kosak says Melchi was a well respected staff member and students loved to be around him.
"The reactions of our students toward Adam have always been nothing but positive," Kosak said. "They felt he was a trusted adult as well that they could go to."
Sara Melchi works as an English teacher at the school her husband loved so much.
"He loved East Aurora. He loved our students," she said. "He loved our faculty. He loved the groups he was part of: student council and bridging the gap."
Finals are coming up at school and Kosak says a big piece is missing.
As for Melchi's family, they want the world to know just how much he meant to everybody.
"He was a stand-up person and he died at the place that he loved the most," Sara Melchi said.
A GoFundMe was set up to help cover funeral expenses and support the Melchi family.