An overflowed crowd of 600-plus people gathered at the San Dieguito United Methodist Church on Sunday to say goodbye to Austin Bice.
"He inspired me in so many ways," said family friend Jay Carpenter, who traveled from Phoenix for the memorial. "I never heard Austin say anything other than something positive about situations and people. He was an incredible person."
Bice, a 22-year-old San Diego State student, was studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, when he went missing last month. After a week and a half of searching, Bice's body was found in a river not far from the nightclub where he left friends to walk home.
Investigators said Bice's body was found with his cell phone and wallet, and no signs of foul play. The medical examiner has since ruled the death an accidental drowning, but toxicology tests are still pending.
Bice was a graduate of Torrey Pines High School where friends say he was always smiling and always put other people first.
"He's the light we all wish we could be," said Marcus Macaulay, Bice's best friend. "In his life, family comes first, then other people, then himself."
The family's website says in lieu of flowers, they request donations be made to the Austin Bice Memorial Trust. Part of the fund will go toward men and women serving in the armed forces.
Bice was in awe of their efforts to serve their country, according to the website.
According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, students in Spain are also planning a memorial for him there.