As the sun set over the Oakland Mills football stadium hundreds of family and friends of former village football star J.T. (John Thomas) Rembert gathered for a candlelight vigil in the stadium's east end zone to honor the 29-year-old who died unexpectedly on Monday.
"The crowd out here this evening is indicative of the great guy J.T. was," Rembert's grandfather Bill Bush V said. "J.T. was an absolutely fantastic guy. He was just an absolutely beautiful person."
Rembert, who was vacationing with his family in Myrtle Beach, S.C., died of pulmonary embolism, according to Horry County deputy coroner Tony Hendrick.
Family members and friends huddled underneath the field goal post where a photo collage of Rembert — depicting images from both his life on and off the field — could be seen through the flickering candlelight. As darkness set in, people shared stories and insights about the type of person Rembert was.
"His smile would light up any room he went in to," Rembert's brother, Rodney Rembert, said holding back tears. "If you were having a bad day, he'd throw some kind of joke in there, make you feel good."
Rembert, a member of the 1998 state championship team, played four years at Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va., where he and his wife Shannon, who is pregnant, and two-year-old son Keegan lived.
A service will be held Saturday, July 21 from 12 - 4 p.m. at Bridgeway Community Church, 9189 Red Branch Rd., in Columbia.