By Shawnte Passmore

ROCKLIN (CBS13) – People spanning from several communities gathered to say farewell to a student killed recently by a driver while walking.

At only 18 years old, Anthony Williams mastered some life lessons, according to Tami Okuma, a family friend.

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“Life is short,” Okuma said. “Hug your loved ones every day. Let them know that you loved them.”

At Youth Basketball Academy, loved ones and friends packed a basketball court to let Williams know they loved him too.

His impact was life-changing, say friends.

“He made me better,” said Ahron Young, 14. The pair used to run drills and play basketball at the academy. “He made me the person I am. I’m not going to lie. “

Rocklin police say the teen died after a car hit him on March 19 near Lonetree Boulevard and Adams Drive. Investigators tell CBS13 the driver is cooperating.

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His passing is reflective of an alarming trend of pedestrian deaths on the rise.

But at the vigil, people remembered his resiliency.

“Anthony was dealt a really tough deck of cards,” said Ken Gee, Williams’ guardian.

Behind this megawatt smile, Williams lost both his parents by the age of eight. At 14, his sister made the difficult decision to ask if he could live with another family.

“I just wanted him to be the best version of himself – to go after his dreams, to play ball, and do what he loves to do,” said Queenisha Wade.

From there, he found a village to raise him comprised of coaches, teachers, parents, and friends who guided him until his untimely death.

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Now, they’re stepping in to make sure his legacy lives on. Five graduating seniors will receive the Anthony Williams Scholarship.

Shawnte Passmore