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Candlelight vigil for beloved downtown Phoenix ambassador Hans Hughes

Hans Hughes
Posted at 9:41 PM, Sep 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-26 01:13:54-04

PHOENIX — A candlelight vigil was held for Hans Hughes, a beloved downtown Phoenix ambassador, at Heritage Square Saturday evening.

Hughes was hit by a drunk driver on August 20, near First and Fillmore streets, and passed away one month later.

The vigil was filled with tears, laughs, and stories.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as Hughes’ father, siblings, and friends talked about their hero.

Folks were also handing out sunflowers, which were Hughes’ favorite.

“This is the party I planned, or I imagined, for Hans, when he recovered,” said Hana Kuykendall.

Kuykendall was having a hard time getting the words out.

“I was his sidekick. I was inseparable from him,” she added.

She says she’s still in shock that her brother is gone.

“He was honest, real, and genuine with each soul he touched,” said Kuykendall at the vigil.

She tells ABC15, one week ago doctors were hopeful her brother would make a full recovery.

Though she says, last weekend, something unexpected happened.

Hughes had multiple cardiac arrests, leading to no hope of recovery without life support.

Carin Maxwell met Hughes four years ago. She says she still doesn’t feel like this is real.

“Heartbroken,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Maxwell remembers Hughes as a loving man.

“He knew no strangers. He went above and beyond. He just had a heart of gold,” Maxwell told ABC15.

Hughes was a downtown Phoenix ambassador for the last 12 years.

R.J. Price worked with Hughes for over a decade.

“He really was sort of the poster child for the ambassador program, and really what it was to be a downtowner,” he added.

Price says Hughes embodied the definition of selflessness and love.

“Anytime I asked him how he was doing he’d say, ‘it’s another beautiful day in downtown Phoenix,’ in this baritone deep voice,” added Price with a smile.

Lisa Banish was friends with Hughes for 10 years and tells us she remembers him as downtown's beacon of light.

“No matter who he’s around. He lit up the room. Made them feel special. You could only be so lucky as to meet someone like Hans,” said Banish.

Now Hughes is celebrated for everything he represents.

“If you met him for a moment, or a lifetime, he was such a good person. He always left an impression,” said Maxwell.

Hans Hughes-- a true icon for the downtown community.

“Everyone keeps saying, you know, describe Hans. I’m like, there’s no way. He’s just Hans,” Banish told ABC15.

“What an incredible, rare, unique individual he was,” said Kuykendall.

Always remembered, never forgotten.

“What a legendary champ,” said Hughes’ sister.

We love him so much,” added Maxwell.

If you would like to donate to Hughes' GoFundMe, click here.