Geraldo Antonio Ortiz-Jimenez loved pop star Selena Gomez so much that he joked she was his girlfriend.
To see her for the first time in concert, he traveled from his home in Puerto Rico for Gomez’s show in Orlando on Friday. The next night, he went to the Pulse nightclub, where he was killed in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Ortiz-Jimenez, 25, is the 49th victim — the final name released Monday night by authorities.
“I talked to him every day . . . he was more than my uncle. He was like one of my best friends,” his niece Tiffany Ortiz, 23, of Brentwood said Tuesday.
Music was always in his head: Ortiz-Jimenez, a University of Puerto Rico student, loved to dance to pop, reggaetón and other genres, his family said.
People called him by his middle name, or the name he gave himself — Drake.
On his vacation, he snapped pictures with Gomez’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds Orlando.
At the concert, he sat a few rows from the stage, wearing a shirt emblazoned with Gomez’s image that he’d had made for the concert. “He fell in love with her even more,” Tiffany Ortiz said.
The two exchanged text messages at 1:21 a.m. Sunday, he telling his niece that he danced to every song at Pulse. She said she tried calling him after she learned of the shooting. “I assumed he dropped his phone,” she said.
Family members couldn’t reach him either and drove from Reading, Pennsylvania, to Orlando, praying he survived, said his sister Grisel Ortiz, 41, of Reading. “It’s just a crazy way to lose a person that you care so much about,” she said.
Family members identified his body on Monday.
“He loved everyone and everything,” Tiffany Ortiz said.
CORRECTION: The hometown of Tiffany Ortiz was incorrect in a previous version of this story.