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Two college students, friends from Chicago area died in Astroworld Festival crowd surge

Franco Patino, 21, and Jake Jurinek, 20, were friends who came to Houston from Naperville for the music festival. Both died in the crush of 50,000 fans.

HOUSTON — We are learning more details about two of the young victims from the Astroworld Festival, Franco Patino and Jake Jurinek. 

Both were college students from the Chicago area who came to Houston together for the music festival, but never made it home.

Franco, 21, and Jake, 20, were among the eight victims who died in the crush of 50,000 fans at the Travis Scott concert. They were there to celebrate Jake's upcoming 21st birthday.

Family members say Franco and Jake grew up in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois. They played football at Neuqua Valley High School, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

 "It doesn’t make any sense for me how this could have occurred," Daniel Dally said. He was friends with both victims and they attended the same high school.

He spoke with our  CBS sister station in Chicago and said he is still trying to wrap his head around this ordeal.

'He would always try to make you laugh'

"I can’t make sense of this. I still think Franco is going to call me, 'We are fine,'" Dally said. 

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He said Franco was the one person he could always count on.

"He would always try to make you laugh always try to be there for you."

According to Franco's family, he was a mechanical engineering technology student at the University of Dayton in Ohio.

His dad told the Chicago newspaper he spoke with Franco on the phone the day of the festival and he was having fun.

“He answered the phone right away, and he was happy,” said Julio Patino. “I said, ‘Franco I love you. … Have fun, but be safe.' He said, ‘No problem, Dad. I am fine. Everything’s gonna be OK.’”

Here’s a picture we found of Franco from back in May from a Twitter post by the University’s Engineering Department recognizing Franco’s work with children and adults with disabilities.

'Unwavering positive attitude'

Jake's family said he was a Junior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he was studying art and media.

"He was the main attraction in every room that he walked into and it was only for good reasons," Dally said. "He always tried to make people laugh and tried to be positive." 

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Below are the full statements from both families: 

Statement from family of Franco C. Patino

"The Family of Franco C. Patino is saddened to share the tragic and devastating news of Franco’s passing this weekend in Houston, Texas.

He was a graduate of the class of 2018 at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. During his time there, Franco was a PE leader and involved with the football, wrestling, and rugby team for four years. He was also a part of the WM International Engineering/Bike Boosters at the Darien Center (Darien, IL) and continued to be involved with them even after high school.

After high school, Franco decided to continue his education by attending the University of Dayton (UD) in Ohio. Franco was a senior at UD pursuing his passion as a Mechanical Engineering Technology major with a minor in Human Movement Biomechanics.

While he was there, Franco was the treasurer of Alpha Psi Lambda, a Hispanic interest fraternity, and was active in the Greek and MEC communities on campus. He was also the President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) at UD, active in the ETHOS program, and was currently working for AtriCure Inc in the R&D department of an engineering CO-OP program in Mason, Ohio. He even carried his love for rugby by being the first person in UD to organize rugby games with universities nearby and organized a team of his own in Dayton.

Franco was a beloved friend, cousin, nephew, brother, and son. He was loved by so many because of the loyal, loving, selfless, protective, funny, and caring person he was. Even though he was a hardworking individual, he would always try to make time for his family and the people he cared about. We will miss the big heart Franco had and his passion for helping others. We’re glad Franco always tried to live life to the fullest and are glad to know he was the type of person that would put himself before others until the very end.

“Te amamos mucho hijo (we love you very much son),” said Teresita/Julio C Patino. Franco was not only a brother but a best friend to Cesar and Julio Jr. and loved dearly by his mom (Teresita Patino) and dad (Julio C Patino). “We please ask for the time space for our family to process this tragic news and begin to heal. We’re comforted by the impact Franco made on hundreds of people over the years and that they will carry a piece of him from now on.”

Statement from family of Jacob E. Jurinek

"The family of Jacob E. (“Jake”) Jurinek is saddened to share the tragic and devastating news of Jacob’s passing this weekend in Houston, Texas.

A graduate of the class of 2019 at Neuqua High School in Naperville, Jake was a junior at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, where he was pursuing his passion for art and media. During his time at SIU, Jake shared his talents with the campus community through his work as a graphic arts and media intern for the athletic department.

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. 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. 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.

But most of all, Jake will be remembered as the best friend to his father, Ron Jurinek. Jake and Ron were brought closer together than ever by a preceding tragedy, 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.

“We are all devastated and are left with a huge hole in our lives,” said Ron Jurinek. “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 of his spirit with them.”

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