Remembering Jeremy Richman: Friends, family pay tribute to Sandy Hook dad

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Friends and family are remembering Sandy Hook father Jeremy Richman, who died by suicide this week.

Neil Heslin and Richman had become friends through tragedy. Heslin tells News 12 that he watched his son Jessie Lewis play with Richman's daughter Avielle on the Sandy Hook playground. The two 6-year-olds had their lives cut short Dec. 14, 2012 in the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

Heslin says all the parents became a family after the shooting. He calls Richman one of the brightest men he had ever met and says that Richman had a smile that could illuminate a room.

MORE: State medical examiner releases cause of death of Sandy Hook father 
MORE: Father of Sandy Hook shooting victim found dead 

Richman dedicated much of his life to the Avielle Foundation in honor of his daughter. Donations to the organization go to researching the brain to understand what leads someone to harmful behavior.

"He dedicated his life to making a legacy for his daughter but also trying to prevent these tragedies, and make a better and safer world," says Heslin.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Richman's family. Richman's wife Jennifer posted yesterday that her husband was a champion and the love of her life, adding that he succumbed to grief that he could not escape.

She also said they will continue to honor him through the foundation's work.

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