PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- They'll remember his outsized ego, his tight hugs, his goofy dance of delight whenever food appeared at a regatta.
They will also remember college rower Scott Laio's will to win, the ''never settle for second" credo that he demonstrated one last time at a race in Philadelphia minutes before dying of an apparent heart attack.
''It was almost a comfort for me that when he left, he went out with a bang," Lauren Laio said in a eulogy yesterday at her brother's funeral in Pittsford, a Rochester suburb.
Their family -- joined by hundreds of friends, relatives, and rowing buddies -- gathered to mourn and celebrate Laio, 20, a Boston College junior who collapsed Saturday after his eight-man lightweight crew won a competition at the Dad Vail Regatta.
Laio passed out as the boat moved just past the grandstand and under a bridge. A teammate performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation on him until emergency medics took over and treated him with a defibrillator. But Laio, accompanied by his parents, was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Results of an autopsy will not be known for four to eight weeks, said Jeff Moran, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office.
Laio helped out with athletic and humanitarian activities for his church and had a strong faith, said the Rev. Michael Bausch, who led the funeral service.
''He had the courage to live his convictions," the priest said. ''Let us thank him for rowing the good journey with us and helping all of us see Christ more clearly."
Laio invariably greeted his friends with a huge grin, a high-five, or a fond nickname, and he was ''louder and more obnoxious" than all his teammates, yet ''never had a bad word to say about anyone," said a college friend, Lynn McIntyre.
''Scott was happy with who he was," she said. ''He always wanted people to be just as happy as he was."
Laio often pushed himself ''to the limit" as a rower and lost ''so much weight during the season" because he would ''never settle for second best," said his sister, a University of Massachusetts freshman. His best friend used to say that Laio's ego ''was the only thing you could see from outer space, other than the Great Wall of China," she added.
He regularly made people laugh, especially when he performed a self-styled ''food dance" during which he waved his arms and chanted, ''I got food! I got food!" she said.
Above all, Laio knew how to express his love and devotion. ''Scott and I used to squeeze each other as hard as we could," she said.