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'We love him, and he died a hero': Family remembers Kentucky man who went after woman who jumped in Ohio River

Family members said Adam Thomas died trying to save a woman, witnesses described, was acting erratically before jumping in the river.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Saturday, a memorial was held for a Louisville hero.

Family members said Adam Thomas died last week after jumping into the Ohio River, trying to save a woman who witnesses described as "acting erratically.”

The woman went under and about 45 seconds after jumping in, Thomas did too. Emergency rescues crews were quickly deployed into the river but neither person survived.

Thomas' family says the Big Four Bridge was his favorite place, and that's why they celebrated his memory there on Saturday.

Hugs, smiles and tears were all present as more than a hundred people gathered to honor Thomas.

"We love him, and he died a hero,” Andrew, Adam’s older brother, said.

He’s how Brittany Knipp and Julie Wolford got to know Adam. They went to school with Andrew as kids and formed an unbreakable bond with the family.

Credit: WHAS-TV
Family and friends light a paper lantern in memory of Adam Thomas on Jan. 22, 2022. Thomas went missing after jumping in the river to save a woman who jumped in, police say.

"They need this support, obviously this is something that you could never imagine happening to you, so when they say they feel that he would have liked this, he would have, and I know it makes them feel supported too,” Wolford said.

They remember Adam as a selfless, fun-loving person.

"Adam was just a funny guy,” Knipp said. “He literally would give you the shirt off of his back. He was just always the life of the party and would just light up the room when he walked in."

RELATED: 'It was hard to watch' | Two people lost in water rescue on the Ohio River

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