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San Diego State rugby team holds memorial in honor of late teammate

Posted at 6:16 AM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 09:16:06-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Glow sticks on a college campus are typically seen for a celebration, but on Thursday they were a sign of heartbreak on the San Diego State University rugby field as teammates gathered to mourn the loss of Maxwell Tamulonis.

"He had a big heart, and I think that's what the team is going to miss the most about him. Beyond his humor and his smile, he was just a caring person,” Andrew Mosqueda, Tamulonis' teammate and roommate, said.

"Just his work ethic. His work ethic and heart. What he could, what he wanted to do, what he wanted to accomplish; he did it all with a smile on his face,” said Tamulonis' rugby coach Jason Merrill.

Tamulonis' obituary stated that he and his girlfriend were on a hike at Black's Beach on Feb. 7 when he fell. The obituary said Tamulonis was airlifted to the hospital where he died hours later.

Tamulonis' teammate said the 21-year-old with a big heart wasn't done helping others.

"Their next move was to donate his organs, which we all knew that's what he would've wanted,” Mosqueda said. "And his donations have already helped five people ranging from 14 years old to 47, 48."

Tamulonis may be gone and the team may never be the same.

"His, you know, love for everything that he did and be able to come and share that tonight as celebrate him. You know him as a person,” Merrill said

But there's still a part of the young man with the big heart and smile that never will be forgotten.

"He lives on within all of us. But, it's good to know that he's living on within other people as well and helping out people he had no connection to previously."

Tamulonis teammate told ABC 10News that the team has appreciated all of the support from the rugby and SDSU community.

Merrill said that Tamulonis' parents are working with the rugby team to set up a scholarship in his name. Instructions on how to donate were included in Tamulonis' obituary.