Christina Grimmie’s closest friends are paying tribute to the late singer, who was shot and killed after her concert in Orlando, Florida.
Stephen Rezza, a singer-songwriter who was supposed to work on new music with Grimmie this weekend, was emotional about his friend’s unexpected death.
“This is truly one of the saddest chapters of my life,” Rezza tells ET.
Rezza first met Grimmie earlier this year, and though their friendship was brief, she made a deep impact on his life.
“I met Christina briefly in March. We started working together in the very beginning of April. We had been hanging out and working together almost every day until her tour,” Rezza recalls. “I did not get much time with her but we had a very strong bond.”
It’s been a difficult 24 hours for Rezza, who said he’ll “miss everything” about Grimmie.
“Her ambition and the passion that drove that ambition, the unconditional love she shared with others, her laugh, her talking voice, her singing voice, her moral ethics, the love we shared with each other, our adventures together, working together,” he fondly remembers. “There is no part of her I miss more or less. I miss her so much.”
Travis Flores, an actor, writer and philanthropist, also spoke to ET, reflecting on the fond memories of Grimmie.
"Christina was the type of person who you could meet and feel like you've been her friend for years," he explains. "She had a diamond heart and was so giving. I only had the gift of knowing her for less than a year, but her charisma, talent, and enthusiasm for life were inspiring to me far before I had the pleasure of calling her my friend. Her legacy will continue to touch lives forever. She and her family are beloved by so many and my deepest prayers go out to them, as well as all of her friends and fans."
A GoFundMe account was created by Grimmie's longtime manager, Brian Teefey, and Flores encourages fans to help out. "Please consider helping her family in this difficult time by giving to her GoFundMe page," he urges. "I have no clue why a person would ever want to hurt anyone, let alone someone who is so loving. I only hope her family is able to have some sense of peace soon."
Upon hearing the news that his close pal had died, Flores also took to Instagram to share a few pics of him posing with his "beautiful person."
I was so nervous to approach #ChristinaGrimmie the night we met because of how much I admired her. Within minutes of our first "hello", she and her mother made me feel like family. This is such a tragedy and an inconceivable loss. Please consider supporting her family by giving to their GoFund me page: http://www.gofundme.com/christinagrimmie #ripchristina @therealgrimmie
Andy Davis, who wrote songs with Grimmie since she was 17 years old, also mourned his late friend via Twitter on Saturday.
“She was always so genuine, goofy, caring, and grounded, and I was always so inspired to get to work with such a natural vocal powerhouse,” Davis wrote. “Truly thankful I got the privilege to play a small part in her career and life journey, and to call her a friend.”
“Our song ‘Think of You’ has been on repeat in my head, Christina…you are dearly missed,” he tweeted, referencing the 2013 tune.
“Behati [Prinsloo] and I are absolutely devastated and heartbroken by Christina Grimmie’s tragic death,” he said in a statement to ET. “Our hearts go out to her family. Christina was a natural, a gifted talent that comes along so rarely. She was taken from us too soon. This is yet another senseless act of extreme violence. I am left stunned and confused how these things can conceivably continue to happen in our world.”
Grimmie was performing Friday at The Plaza Live, one of Orlando’s oldest theaters, with the pop-rock band Before You Exit. Detectives were told at the scene that a white male walked towards Grimmie and shot her. Grimmie’s brother tackled the suspect and during the struggle, the suspect shot himself and was pronounced dead at the scene.
On Saturday, the Orlando Police Department released a photo of the shooter, 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl of St. Petersburg, Florida, who killed himself at the scene.
Grimmie’s rep issued a statement late Friday evening, asking for the family’s privacy.
"It is with a heavy heart that we can confirm that Christina has passed and went home to be with the Lord," her rep said in a statement. "She was shot at her show in Orlando and, unfortunately, didn't survive the gunshot wounds. We ask at this time that you respect the privacy of her family and her friends in their time of mourning.”
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