Joel Gauthier was like a lot of 18-year-olds.
He had just finished his first year at Carleton University and dreamed of being an electrical engineer.
In his spare time, he loved to bike.
He was doing what he loved when he was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm on Friday evening. On Saturday, he passed away.
Gauthier was biking through Ottawa’s Vincent Massey Park with a female friend when they stopped to put on rain gear under a tree around 7 p.m.
Gauthier and the tree were hit by lightning.
He went into cardiac arrest.
Paramedics treated Gauthier and rushed him to hospital in critical condition.
He later succumbed to his injuries.
Gauthier’s parents and younger sister are asking for privacy.
“They’re not ready to say anything right now. They are so upset about the situation,” said Gauthier’s uncle, Mario Beauchamp, over the phone from Calgary.
Beauchamp’s sister is Gauthier’s mother.
Gauthier was a “very intelligent boy. Smart, hard-working,” said Beauchamp.
The pair had a tight bond.
“He was my first-born nephew, so we got close over the years,” Beauchamp said.
He paused to collect his thoughts.
“He had his grandpa’s ways about money,” Beauchamp chuckled. “Money-pincher.”
His Facebook profile shows he was a fan of the band Avenged Sevenfold.
Family and friends took to social media Saturday to mourn the teen.
“…For those of you that didn’t get the opportunity to be blessed by this angel, he was a young man with a great sense of humour, determination, perseverance, resourceful, helpful and always there for family and friends,” wrote aunt Dianne Gauthier.
“It was hard to see and let you go this morning. You will always be thought of and loved by many.”
Nick Bowman called Gauthier “one of the best people I know.”
“You helped me through thick and thin, and was always there for me when I needed it,” wrote Bowman.
“I wish I had been able to repay you, you did so much for me. You taught me a lot of important life lessons… I’ll never forget you.”
Stephanie Lalonde described him as “an exceptional person.”
“You will be missed, but never forgotten,” wrote Stephanie Joanisse.
“Please watch over your loved ones,” said Stephanie Lalonde.
“My thoughts & prayers go out to your family! God only takes the best.”
Gauthier’s friend, also 18, was transported to hospital as well.
She was complaining of numbness to her arms, however, paramedics aren’t certain she was struck.