SAINT LOUIS, Mo. — Family, friends and former teammates said goodbye Saturday to a larger-than-life teen who was killed in March after falling off a thrill ride in Orlando, Florida.
Hundreds attended the homegoing services for a 14-year-old Tyre Sampson of St. Louis County. The funeral was held at Saint Louis University.
“There's a lot of love here," Kelly Southhall, a family friend said. "There's a lot of support. No mother should have to go through this.”
Sampson stood 6’4, 325 pounds. He was on the path for greatness on the gridiron before this tragic accident cut his life short. Reggie Rice said he will always carry his younger cousin in his heart.
"He was always asking me: What I wanted to do when I got older; who did I want to be like,” Rice said. “I said, 'I don't know. Who do you want to be like? He said nobody. I just want to be myself.'”
The only thing bigger than his stature was his larger-than-life personality.
"I would always tease him about the size of his shoe,” Vida Weekly, a former teacher said. “He would joke and laugh it off. He would say, '17! Say it real proud.'”
Weekly made 100+ buttons with Tyre’s pictures on them to make sure family and friends remember the lovable teen. Weekly said Sampson was growing into a fine young man and leader. He even helped younger students at City Garden Montessori School.
“I pray that somebody in this situation learns from this," Weekly said.
Tyre Sampson was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery. His death is still under investigation.