TEMPE, Ariz. – Friends and family say 19-year-old Matthew West was the kind of person everyone loved to be around.
Now his father has lost his only son. Michael West tells 3TV, “It's just left such a huge empty gap in our lives that this family is never going to possibly get over it. There's just no way.”
Matthew was a sophomore at Arizona State University in the honors college. He wanted to be a doctor and loved playing the guitar and riding his brand new motorcycle. His friends and family say it was his love of life and people that determined everything he did.
Rhea Barlow says, “He was special. He was brilliant. He had a lot going for him. He just had a lot to offer and he offered it.”
It was Saturday in the early morning hours that Wade and Robin Lattin were woken up to hear their only son was also taken in the crash.
The parents of Abay Lattin, a local rap artist on the brink of stardom, say their son died doing what he loved on his way home from a show.
Lattin had recently reached a deal with MTV but there was more to him than what his fans saw on the surface.
“You see him on the stage and he's a big presence but laying here on the floor watching "Up" and hearing him say ‘Aw, that's so sad that the wife died,’ he was just a tender guy.”
The Lattins say they also have a little bit of tenderness for the 17-year-old who police say was likely driving drunk when she caused the crash. “I don't hold any animosity towards her or any ill towards her because her life has been changed forever also."
Learn more about a memorial fund sent up for Matthew West.
Lattin's parents say that, in lieu of flowers, they ask that mourners send donations to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).