SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento icon who revitalized much of the art world Downtown is being remembered.
Ali Youssefi passed away Saturday, after battling stomach cancer.READ MORE: Reality Sets In For Fawn Fire Evacuees In Shasta County
Youssefi was diagnosed with stomach cancer last July, just one month after getting married. The 35-year old developer was behind the R Street Warehouse Artist Lofts.
His family tells CBS13 he was always positive he’d beat his illness. Close friends say Youssefi was so passionate about making the city a livable place for young professionals and artists.
They say he had a glowing charm and a positive impact on everyone he met.
“We respected him so much for being more than a businessman, he was really a community leader and for artists, he created a lot of opportunities for us,” said David Garibaldi.
Garibaldi, a global performance painter with roots in Sacramento, was one of many touched by Ali Youssefi.
This art studio, on a busy corner of R Street, is home to Garibaldi after Youssefi inspired him to set up shop.
“Because of him I feel more connected to this community by being here,” Garibaldi added.
Youssefi was a patron of the arts and the art community of Sacramento. Garibaldi says the city lost an icon, and he, a mentor.READ MORE: Sacramento's New Response Team Looks To Address Mental Health, Homelessness
“When we have such a big voice like Ali is gone, it’s a pretty big blow to us,” Garibaldi said.
“Every person who has passed through not only the marketplace or wanted to visit R Street, that is Ali, Ali made this happen,” said Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen.
A close friend of Youssefi for almost a decade, Hansen says he credits him with revitalizing the city to welcome a younger generation and artistic culture.
Youssefi was involved in several key projects Downtown, which included developing a mixed-use building on the 800-block of K Street, in partnership with the Sacramento Kings.
In a statement to CBS13 Sunday, business partner Bay Miry said, “Ali is truly an angel who possessed a kind and gentle spirit. He contributed to the Sacramento artist community in ways that can never be replicated.”
A claim many Sacramento artists say Youssefi painted so clearly.
He was a prominent figure to the arts they’ll never forget.
“He was as good as you get,” said one artist.
Councilmember Hansen says his goal now is to continue Youssefi’s work.MORE NEWS: Sacramento County Boots Gibson Ranch Horse Riding Operator After 8-Year-Old Suffers Injuries
A vigil in his honor will be held at the Warehouse Artist Lofts Monday at 6 p.m.