The eight victims of the Astroworld tragedy have begun to be identified by TODAY. One of the first victims to be confirmed was 20-year-old Jacob "Jake" Jurinek.
According to a statement from his family, Jurinek was a 2019 graduate of Neuqua High School in Naperville, Illinois, and was currently a junior at Southern Illinois University — Carbondale. There he was pursuing his passion for art and media. On campus, he worked as a graphic arts and media intern for the athletic department.
"Jake was beloved by his family and by his seemingly countless number of friends for his contagious enthusiasm, his boundless energy and his unwavering positive attitude," the statement said. "He was an avid fan of music, an artist, a son, a best friend to many and a loving and beloved cousin, nephew and grandson. Always deeply committed to his family, he was affectionately known as 'Big Jake' by his adoring younger cousins, a name befitting of his larger-than-life personality."
But the statement said that above all else the bond between him and his "best friend" — his father, Ron Jurinek — is what he will be remembered for the most. In 2011, the father-son duo were brought closer together after the death of Jake’s mother, Alison.
In the decade since then, the pair of men were inseparable, according to the statement, sharing in their love for baseball as fans for both the White Sox and Blackhawks, as well as their shared love for professional wrestling.
They also enjoyed spending weekends with extended family and friends at Jake’s favorite place: the family cottage in Southwestern Michigan.
“We are all devastated and are left with a huge hole in our lives,” Ron Jurinek told TODAY via a statement. “Right now, we ask for the time and space for our family to process this tragic news and begin to heal. We’re comforted by the fact that the hundreds of people Jake touched over the years will carry a piece his spirit with them.”
On Friday, Nov. 5, at least eight people were left dead after chaos ensued at NRG Park in Houston, Texas, during the Astroworld Musical Festival hosted and headlined by rapper Travis Scott.
The exact cause of death for Jurinek and the seven other victims has not yet been revealed. Though none of the identities of the victims have officially been released, the ages of the victims are: 14, 16, 20, two were 21, two were 23 and 27.
TODAY has been able to confirm four of the eight victims so far: Jurinek, Brianna Rodriguez, 16, Axel Acosta, 21, and Franco Patino, 21.