Christopher Sanfeliz: A 'diamond' to friends, family

Sanfeliz worked at JPMorgan Chase in Tampa

By Shannon McLellan - Social Media Producer

Christopher Sanfeliz

Christopher Sanfeliz, 24, was loved and adored by every soul that crossed his path.

His loved ones said he had a way of making everybody he knew feel special.

He was a loving and attentive son, a hero of a brother, a role model cousin, a confidant of a nephew and a loyal friend.

Sanfeliz was a graduate of Gaither High School in Tampa and attended Hillsborough Community College. He was an employee of JPMorgan Chase in Tampa where he worked as a personal banker.

He is survived by his mother Maria, his father Carlos and his older brother Carlos “Junior” Sanfeliz.

Sanfeliz went to Pulse nightclub after driving to Orlando to support his friend Shane Tomlinson at Blue Martini. Friends said Sanfeliz was always extremely supportive of their dreams, and was himself an incredible salsa dancer. His best friend Cesar De La Rosa, a Tampa folk singer and songwriter, said that “when Chris danced with you, he made you feel like the belle of the ball.”

“He had so much to give to the world,” De La Rosa said. He described his best friend  as “amazing, beautiful, and so giving.” He told the story of when he went to auditioned for X Factor in Miami, Sanfeliz drove him there and back on the same day, in a car with no air conditioning, just to show him that he was supported and loved.

When De La Rosa heard the news of what happened at Pulse, he immediately called Sanfeliz. His phone was turned off and did not pick up, so he decided to hop in his car and drive to Orlando from Tampa. While filling up his gas tank, De La Rosa said a beautiful blue jay flew on the fence next to him and sat down, staring directly at him. “The bird’s stature and the way his hair stood up, the way it looked at me directly, I knew it was Chris sending me a message that he was OK.” In that moment, a feeling of peace washed over De La Rosa.

He wrote a song to honor his friend simply titled “Chris.” The lyrics in verse one read: “I may not know the answers/I may not know the reasons/But when you love a person/You do your best never to leave them.”

He said the lyrics are what he feels Chris is saying to him in times of trouble. He posted the song to his Facebook page, with the words, “Chris, I adore you and I swear I’ll fight for your dreams and mine. I share my life with you forever,” written in Spanish. You can listen to the full tribute here: 

Sanfeliz was cherished by his family, especially by his older brother Junior. The two were not only brothers, but best friends.

“Words cannot express how much I love you. I know you knew that, but I wish I could just have 15 seconds with you one last time to give you a hug and a kiss and let you know one last time,” Christopher’s brother wrote on Facebook.

Christopher’s best friend, Nicole Irizzary, and her family placed a sign for Chris outside of Pulse nightclub. The sign includes his name, the dates of his life and the words “Shine bright like a diamond” underneath his picture.

Irizzary wrote on Facebook that the two called one another “diamonds” after they stayed up all night at Cocoa Beach wishing on stars during a meteor shower. “Now you are a true diamond and my wish is to see you again. I know that wish will come true one sweet day, until then I know I will be dreaming of you,” Irrizary wrote.


Sanfeliz’s funeral filled up not only the main the sanctuary of the building where it was held, but all the waiting rooms. “It was massive,” De La Rosa said “And each person there had a story about how Chris had made them feel special.”

A family member spoke at his service, saying that although Sanfeliz’s time on earth was short, it was filled with meaning and purpose.

“A life too precious, taken too soon. He will live forever in our hearts in memories until we come together again,” the Sanfeliz family wrote in his official obituary.

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