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Father of Astroworld Victim Jacob Jurinek, 21, Says They Were ‘Inseparable’ After Loss of Son’s Mom

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Family of Astroworld Victim Jacob Jurinek speaks out

Family of Astroworld Victim Jacob Jurinek speaks out

Jurinek Family

The family of Jacob Jurinek, one of the eight victims of the mass casualty incident that took place Friday night at Travis Scott‘s Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, is grieving.

Jacob’s father, Ron Jurinek, tells PEOPLE that the 21-year-old college student was “just the sweetest kid you ever want to meet” with the “biggest heart in the world.”

“We lost his mom when he was 10,” Ron says. “He never gave me any trouble. That’s why it took so long for Houston to identify him because there’s no fingerprints on file. He never did anything where he got into any trouble.”

Born and raised in Naperville, Illinois, Jacob was a junior at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale studying art and media, his family said in a Sunday press release shared with PEOPLE.

“Jake was beloved by his family and by his seemingly countless number of friends for his contagious enthusiasm, his boundless energy, and his unwavering positive attitude,” the release said.

Travis Scott performs during 2021 Astroworld Festival

Travis Scott performs during 2021 Astroworld Festival

Erika Goldring/WireImage Travis Scott performs during 2021 Astroworld Festival

RELATED: Astroworld Victim Danish Baig, 27, Died ‘Trying to Save’ His Fiancée: ‘He Just Started His Life’

“He was an avid fan of music, an artist, a son, a best friend to many, and a loving and beloved cousin, nephew, and grandson,” it continued. “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.”

Jacob and Ron were “inseparable,” the release noted, after the death of his mother Alison in 2011. They attended White Sox and Blackhawks games together, shared a love of professional wrestling and spent weekends with their extended family and friends at Jacob’s “favorite place,” their family cottage in Southwestern Michigan.

“We are all devastated and are left with a huge hole in our lives,” Ron said in the release. “Right now, we ask for the time and space for our family to process this tragic news and begin to heal. We’re comforted by the fact that the hundreds of people Jake touched over the years will carry a piece his spirit with them.”

Along with Jacob, John Hilgert, 14, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Franco Patino, 21, Axel Acosta, 21, Rudy Pena, 23, and Danish Baig, 27, and another 23-year-old, whose name has not been revealed to the public, have been identified as seven of the eight victims who died in the Astroworld tragedy.

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Jacob had attended the concert alongside Franco, his best friend, to celebrate Jacob’s 21st birthday, his brother Julio Patino, Jr. previously told PEOPLE.

“They were planning [to go to the event] for months. Franco was saving up money for it, so was Jacob,” Julio said. “And he was very excited. He was telling all his friends and family, ‘I’m going to go and see Travis Scott and Bad Bunny.'”

Travis Scott performs during 2021 Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 05, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Travis Scott performs during 2021 Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 05, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Erika Goldring/WireImage Travis Scott performs during 2021 Astroworld Festival

RELATED: Astroworld Festival Attendee Recalls Tragic Scene of Dead Bodies: ‘You Could Hear the Screams of People’

In addition to the casualties, more than 300 people were treated for injuries following the chaos that unfolded at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Friday, when fans in the crowd of about 50,000 began to rush the stage, according to the authorities.

A source close to Scott, 30, told PEOPLE that the rapper was unaware of the magnitude of the situation while on stage. “The lights were shining in his eyes and he couldn’t see what was happening,” said the source. “He thought someone had just passed out, which happens during concerts.”

In a statement shared on Saturday, Scott said he was “absolutely devastated” by the events that took place. “My prayers go out to the families and all those impacted by what happened at Astroworld Festival,” the rapper posted on Twitter. “Houston PD has my total support as they continue to look into the tragic loss of life.”

He continued, “I am committed to working together with the Houston community to heal and support the families in need. Thank you to Houston PD, Fire Department and NRG Park for their immediate response and support.”



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