Friends and family of Alexander Cook will remember the Lake Elmo teen as an amazing guy who was taking charge of his life and finding his happiness.
“Alex could be having the worst day of his life and still bring a smile to another's face,” his aunt Jessica Beck said Tuesday night. “He could make his cousin giggle so hard you wouldn't think he could possibly stop—let alone breathe. He was sweet, sensitive, smart and strong.”
Cook, 18, at the end of the dike in Hudson.
His girlfriend, brother and two friends tried to help him, but he went under in at least 20 feet of water.
“He touched so many lives, but of course his was cut too short,” Beck said.
Cook had just graduated from last week, and was considering enlisting in the military.
“It's amazing the support so many strangers have shown for him, and of course us, his family and friends,” Beck said. “It's such a shame that we—and the world—will not be given the opportunity to see his life unfold as it should have.”
Cook’s guardian, Amber Hageman, told the Star Tribune that he wasn’t much of a swimmer.
He only made it out about 50 yards into the river when he started to struggle and his friends swam out to try to help.
"They were trying to get him to drop his blue jeans, because they believed that was weighing him down," Chief Marty Jensen told the Star Tribune. "When we did recover him, he was not wearing his blue jeans, so we figure he got them off. But by then it was probably too late; he was too tired."
“If any good can come from this tragedy,” Beck said, “it will be that others are cautious and safe, because no one should have to deal with losing someone as special as Alex under such circumstances.”
Visitation for Cook will be Sunday from 1-6 p.m. at in Roseville.
“I'll miss him terribly,” Beck said, “along with the rest of the masses that he had charmed with his charisma.”