by: Tom Regan Updated:
NORCROSS, Ga. - Nearly 300 people, including classmates, friends and family members, gathered in prayer at a Doraville church Friday to pay their last respects to a Norcross High School football player who died following a battle with cancer.
Nicholas Kim, 17, was a rising senior and offensive lineman on the school’s football team, which won the state title last year. Although he could not play, he was with the team as they celebrated victory. He died Wednesday.
"He was just a leader with a lot of character, the kind of kid you love to coach. He wasn't very big in stature, but he had a big heart and played and earned the respect of his teammates and classmates," said head football coach Keith Maloof.
Kim was selected for the team’s leadership council and was elected to student council. He also was a member of the school’s spirit club.
Kim’s mother, Susan, told Channel 2's Tom Regan that her son developed a rare form of cancer called clear cell sarcoma in March 2012. His journey of treatment took the family to medical centers in other states, including Alabama.
"He loved sports. He loved his school. He loved life," said Kim.
Many of the student’s friends spoke of his kind heart and generosity Friday outside the Korean Martyrs Catholic Church in Doraville.
"He was the most selfless person I ever met. I've dreaded this day. I've been in denial about this day ever coming," said classmate Kendall Jennings.
Other student's praised Kim for waging a fierce battle against the disease.
"He was a fighter. He said he would be with us as long as he could. I'm utterly heartbroken. He was one of my best friends, the nicest guy you'd ever meet," said classmate Sophie Ryland.
The student's family wished to thank all those who have offered support, including the many doctors and medical teams that helped in his treatment. Susan Kim said she and her husband are considering establishing a memorial fund to help cancer patients.