LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Those who knew and loved Toyota employee Diego Garcia are feeling immense grief after he died on the job Tuesday when a heavy object fell from a forklift.
39-year-old Garcia played for the local adult soccer league in Lexington outside of work.
His current and former teammates say he was a fantastic goalkeeper and one of the best in the league. Garcia played with the league for more than 15 years.
"He was a guy that you wanted on your team, and if you showed up to the game and he was on the other side, you knew you had your work cut out for you," friend and teammate, James Diehl, said.
But what stood out most about Garcia goes beyond x's and o's.
"Easily one of the most beloved members of our soccer league," soccer league director Allen Sharon said.
"He was loved by everybody, really," friend and teammate Matt Lyons said. "Just a lovely person."
"An incredibly positive person, very upbeat," friend and teammate Andrew Isaacs said. "He had the biggest smile you would ever see. He cared about other people. He loved the game of soccer. A genuinely good person all around."
"You couldn't help but smile every time you see Diego," Diehl said.
Even if the other team managed to score on him, Garcia didn't let it faze him.
"If someone were to make a really good goal or even a bad goal he should have saved, he's always got something positive to say to that player," Sharon said. "You know, 'great shot, I wish I had done a better job at saving it,' things like that."
After games, it was tradition to grab a beer and sit and chat. Those are moments his teammates will miss most.
"He was kind and generous and had a good sense of humor and made us laugh," Lyons said. "He had lots of fun stories."
"Just not being able to have those moments with him is going to be heartbreaking for a lot of people," Sharon said.
The soccer league is planning a moment of remembrance for Garcia Thursday night at a game he was on the roster to play. It's set to take place at 8:45 p.m. at the Tower Hill Sports indoor field.
Garcia leaves behind his wife, Kristen.
A gofundme for Garcia's funeral expenses can be found here.