Known as “Eddy Green Eyes,” Eduardo Rivero had just landed a job working sales at Carnival Cruise Line.
The son of a Miami-Dade police detective, Emilio Macias turned not to law enforcement but to financial advising at Wells Fargo.
In life, the two were longtime friends, both handsome and successful with bigger ambitions. In death, their fates will forever be linked to the death of their friend, Marlins superstar pitcher Jose Fernandez, whose boat violently plowed into a South Beach jetty early Sunday, killing all three and shocking South Florida.
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Rivero and Macias were not nationally known athletes, but they had their own dedicated and now-grieving fans — family and friends alike — in Miami-Dade County.
“They were together all the time,” said Rivero’s cousin, Aileen Victoria, 19. “They treated each other like brothers.”
Said his friend, Will Bernal: “He was one of my best friends. I talked to Eddy as much as I talk to my wife. He was a humble, giving person. One of the most generous guys I knew.”
Macias’ cousin, Ailin Macias, created a page to raise money for funeral expenses and described Macias as “an amazing son, brother, grandson, boyfriend, cousin, friend.”
Rivero was 25, Macias 27. Their deaths spurred donations of tens of thousands of dollars Monday to GoFundMe pages set up by their families to help cover costs of the funerals.
Rivero will be honored at a wake Tuesday and buried Wednesday. Funeral arrangements for Macias were not yet available Monday night.
Both were raised in Miami-Dade and graduated G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School in West Kendall.
“The BRADDOCK BULLDOG family is mourning the loss of two alumni students, Eddy Rivero and Emilio Macias, along with the Marlins All-Star pitcher Jose Fernandez,” the school tweeted and posted on its Facebook page. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to all the families and will be in our prayers.”
And each also attended Florida International University, where they both studied psychology, the school said Monday.
Macias’ family on Monday did not speak publicly with the media. His father, also named Emilio Macias, is a detective in the warrants bureau of Miami-Dade police.
As for Rivero, his Instagram was replete with images typical of a young Miami man in the prime of his life with his girlfriend, Jen Peralta: He and Peralta celebrating their one-year anniversary at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Racing go-karts. Tailgating at the Miami Dolphins game.
On Instagram on Monday, she posted one of his text messages to her, reassuring they would never drift. “How do you know,” she asked.
“Because I’ll never forget why I love you,” he responded.
Peralta wrote in the caption: “He loved like no one I’d ever met. He taught me to not be afraid, to not be timid or afraid to speak my mind.”
Rivero’s death was also a blow at the small boxing gym in Wynwood where he trained. He was just there Saturday, thumping away at the double-end bag, said gym owner Matt Baiamonte, who had been out of town for several months.
“He came running up to me and just gave me the biggest hug,” Baiamonte said. “It’s a small gym. We’re kind of family.”
Rivero discovered the gym through photos on Instagram and trained diligently, frequently sparring on Friday nights. “The kid could definitely hit,” Baiamonte said.
He shared his enthusiasm. A few months back, Rivero brought in the Marlins’ Fernandez, whom Baiamonte said planned to start training there after the baseball season.
Rivero has another passion: sneakers, photos of which he sometimes posted online. Bernal, his friend, had just given him a red-and-black pair of Air Jordan Bred1s, a retro Nike sneaker just released last month.
Friend after friend recalled Rivero’s generosity.
Rachel Perez had lost touch with Rivero, but she recalled that a few years back, when she was about 18 years old, he accompanied her on a search for her first job, applying in person, walking around to the mall and restaurants to fill out applications. She did land a job, at Applebee’s.
“He was an amazing friend, and anyone who met him was lucky,” Perez said.
He was the same with Fernandez. His friend Bernal recalled that hours before he died, his friend left a birthday party to go hang out with the Marlins pitcher, who “was feeling stressed out” and wanted to go out on the boat.
“He was that type of guy,” Bernal said. “He wanted to be there for him.”
A few hours later, Rivero was dead. On Instagram, mourners began commenting on an eerily prescient photo. It showed a tattoo on his leg: “Life is short. Heaven is forever.”
Miami Herald staff writers David Smiley and Carli Teproff contributed to this report.