JMH: Teen who saved mother, son swimming off Virginia Key has died

MIAMI (WSVN) - A teenager who heroically saved a mother and her son at a sandbar off Virginia Key and was left hospitalized has died, according to a spokesperson at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Seventeen-year-old Cristian Burgos succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday morning, hospital officials said.

Burgos was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center on Monday afternoon after he rescued a 9-year-old boy and tried to swim out to his 25-year-old mother in the waters of Historical Virginia Key Beach.

After rescuing the mother and son, Burgos himself had to be rescued from the dangerous waters.

Burgos’ cousin, Nelly Alvarado, spoke of her cousin’s heroism before his unfortunate passing.

“He’s always caring about other people,” said Alvarado, “so I know that he didn’t think twice to go and help the woman and her child.”

On Tuesday night, the mother of this hero said she had not stopped praying for her son after he risked his life to save the lives of two others. Burgos was praised for his heroic personality by friends and family.

“I’m not surprised at all that he did that because he’s that kind of person,” said Katherin Zamora, another of Burgos’ cousins.

“He’s an amazing person,” said Mayte Padilla, Burgos’ girlfriend as she fought back tears. “What he did, I’m so proud of him.”

He was a senior at Booker T. Washington High School and was admired by his classmates.

“He is going to leave a legacy to his peers to follow in his footsteps,” said Dr. Nelson Fernandez, a teacher at Booker T. Washington High School, “to just be there whenever there is a need.”

Teachers from Burgos’ high school described how students felt after hearing of their classmate’s passing.

“They were very, very sad,” said Veronique Toussaint, a teacher at Booker T. Washington High School. “Crying. It’s a shock to them.”

Teachers referred to Burgos as an exceptional young man and a special spirit who was a role model for freshmen. He helped to translate when friends needed it and trained younger soccer players.

They continued to say his memory will live on through his classmates, friends and family.

“One lesson to also remember is what he did as a hero and to keep his memory and never forget,” said Toussaint.

Several students visited the hospital on Tuesday with homemade banners to show their support for Burgos and his family.

“He was able to save the lives of two people while putting his own life at stake,” said school principal William Aristide. “No other better way to describe him other than the word ‘Hero.’”

Burgos’ family expressed their gratitude online for all the support and prayers they received as well as the donations they received through their GoFundMe account.

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