SARASOTA (FOX 13) - From his smile to the top hat he often wore, there were many things that made Eddie Sotomayor Jr. standout. Friends say his kindness made him a friend to all.
"He always had a kind word and a great smile," recalled Berry Ayers. "He was generous of his spirit and if anyone needed anything of him, he'd be right there."
Eddie worked doing what he loved. He was the international brand manager for ALandCHUCK Travel, an LGBT Travel agency based in Sarasota. He was getting ready to unveil a gay cruise to Cuba on Monday in Orlando and he spent Saturday night at Pulse with his partner.
He sent a Snapchat video to his boss, Al Ferguson, just 23 minutes before the shots rang out.
"I smiled when I saw it. It was funny and it makes me happy," he said.
Eddie's partner was outside when the shooting started. From inside, Eddie told him to get to safety.
"He received a text from Eddie saying he was in hiding, but safe, but that was the last anyone heard from him," said Ferguson.
The next morning Ferguson rushed to the hospital to be with Eddie's family. He took a video as doctors began reading off who was at the hospital and their conditions.
"The worst was when they finished the names and they had no other information, you knew at that moment as the news was reporting that 50 people had been killed, that if you weren't on that list it was very, very bad news," he said.
As the day went on, their worst fears were confirmed. Eddie was one of the first victims to be named.
Now his friends and family hope to carry on how he lived.
"You have to get out in the world and you have to continue on. That is the single thing that I will come away from this which is we must embrace more. Not less," added Ferguson.