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.

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.

“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.

A vigil in his honor will be held at the Warehouse Artist Lofts Monday at 6 p.m.


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