CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Warm embraces and tears flowed outside Bank of America Stadium as news spread that Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes tragically lost his life.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” said Jason Glunt, owner of Salud Beer Shop. “It’s a member of the team and, especially, a member of our first-ever team. We feel like we’re all family. It’s part of a community. Somebody so young, had their whole life ahead of them. It was shocking.”

Walkes was in Florida with the team for training when he was involved in a boat crash near the Miami Marine Stadium basin. Florida Fish and Wildlife officers say Walkes was driving one of the boats involved in the crash. When he was found unconscious, first responders administered life-saving efforts. He passed away Thursday morning.

Warm embraces and tears flowed outside Bank of America Stadium as news spread that Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes tragically lost his life.

Fans, teammates, and team owner David Tepper visited the Charlotte stadium to comfort one another. Fans put flowers, candles, and his #5 jersey at a growing memorial outside the gates.

“I think he really embraced the Charlotte community,” said Charlotte FC radio play-by-play host Will Palaszczuk, “and really embraced his teammates. You would always see him playing FIFA with his teammates and kind of always being around everybody.”

A force on the field, Walkes is remembered more for being a fierce friend, a loving father, and a man who could even touch a stranger’s life.

“Great guy,” said fan Javier Morales. “[I] got to meet him at a few of the trainings, and he was always very welcoming, a great smile.”

The crown will feel his void, but Walkes’s impact stretches much further.

“I don’t think you could find anybody who played with him, whether it was in Atlanta, Charlotte, Port Smith, or Tottenham, who didn’t like Anton Walkes,” said Palaszczuk.

Queen City News is working on learning more details about how the crash happened. Charlotte FC will play its first friendly match in two days, but soccer is the last thing on the minds of the team and fans.

Fans are already talking about ways they can honor Walkes’ life.