Surfside collapse victim: Luis Bermudez, 26, with muscular dystrophy among those dead
Among the many left dead, injured and unaccounted for following the tragic collapse of a Miami condo building, is Luis Bermúdez, a young man being remembered and celebrated by those he left behind. Both Bermúdez and his mother Ana Ortiz were identified as victims of the partial collapse of Miami-Dade town Surfside's Champlain Towers South that came crashing down in minutes at 1:30 am on Thursday, June 24, night.
Bermúdez and Ortiz were among the 11 dead after the harrowing collapse of the condo's 55 units. At the time of the collapse, about 70 percent of the units were occupied, it's been reported. There have also been allegations of the condo being long due for repair due to "major structural damage" as well as that of the developers paying off officials back in the day to obtain a building permit despite a faulty sewer line prohibition going on at the time. As building repairs were finally being made, starting with roof work, it's also been reported that a pool deck hanging atop a parking garage in the building was its biggest problem area. And although residents of sister towers Champlain Towers North, and Champlain Towers East are evacuating, those in the South Tower on that fateful night hardly saw this coming.
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Who was Luis Bermúdez?
The 26-year-old man from Puerto Rico was a seventh-floor resident of Champlain Towers South before he died when the residential building collapsed on June 24, family members and the Miami-Dade Police Department said. Full name Luis Andrés Bermúdez, he was born on December 6, 1994. He described himself as a man with “a big heart” who was “happy to live another day” and who had “big dreams and ideas.”
Bermúdez and his mother, Ortiz, 46, disappeared along with Ortiz's new husband Frankie Kleiman after the 12-story building collapsed last week. Bermúdez's father, also named Luis Bermúdez, has since taken to Facebook to address the tragedy, as he shared on his page: “God decided that he wanted one more angel in heaven. I still do not believe it. I LOVE you and will love you forever." The photo accompanying the caption is that of the father-son duo, with the older Bermúdez embracing his young son, smiling at the camera.
Calling this one of the most beautiful days they had together, Bermúdez's father wrote on the back of the photo: "My Luiyo. You gave me everything,” he wrote in black ink. “I will miss you all my life. ... I will never leave you alone.” Bermúdez's aunt Magui Bermúdez also sang his praises, as she wrote: "Taking care of us from heaven! Fly high my warrior!!!”
Bermudez was a 'silent warrior'
Bermúdez, fondly nicknamed Luiyo, was remembered by his friends, family, and loved ones on social media through countless messages of comfort and remembrances. “THANK YOU so much for the laughter, experiences and above all, LIVING life to the fullest,” a friend of the family wrote on Facebook. The Miami Herald reports one person, who identified as a friend, called Bermúdez “the light of the eyes of his father." Several others agreed he was adored by his parents and relatives. “To call him unforgettable is an understatement,” wrote Jose J. Ortiz Carlo, a teacher from Bermudez’s high school.
Speaking about the man's muscular dystrophy that would require him to use a wheelchair, Ortiz Carlocalled Bermudez a “silent warrior" - always smiling and never missing class. “Luis Andres is an example of courage and bravery FOR ALL of us. ... Luis taught us more about COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE, and about how to make the best of one’s LIFE than any book, any lesson or any theory,” Ortiz Carlo wrote.
Bermúdez also owned a clothing business named Saucy Boyz Clothing. His love for sushi was reflected in his clothes and would often share videos of his creative process on social media. He was also open on social media about being persistent with finding a way around his condition that made moving his fingers difficult. “Because of my attitude I have achieved my dream,” he once shared on his Instagram. “The purpose of these designs is to share my art with the world and let them know that despite whatever impediments they may have, they can achieve what they set out in their mind and heart. There are no limits.”