Friends remember Northeast Tennessee man killed in Big South For

Friends remember Northeast Tennessee man killed in Big South Fork hiking accident

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Gavin Duncan (source: family) Gavin Duncan (source: family)
"He always had this big wide smile whenever I would see him," said Will Warren. "He always had this big wide smile whenever I would see him," said Will Warren.
"Today has been tough. Gavin was a mentor, a friend, and a brother in Christ to everyone he knew," said Chandler Vannoy. "Today has been tough. Gavin was a mentor, a friend, and a brother in Christ to everyone he knew," said Chandler Vannoy.
By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Northeast Tennessee man who has ties to Knoxville died Saturday in a hiking accident during a visit to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Officials say Gavin Duncan climbed a tree near Burnt Mill Bridge and fell into Clear Fork River.

Friends and family had been by his side at the hospital. He passed away Sunday night.

Those closest to Duncan told 6 News they are simply devastated but they're holding onto hope, saying he had unshakeable faith.

A smile that could light up a room, that's what friends of Gavin Duncan's are remembering.

"He always had this big wide smile whenever I would see him," said Will Warren.

Friends described Duncan, who was a Johnson City native, as quiet, kind and humble.

"Today has been tough. Gavin was a mentor, a friend, and a brother in Christ to everyone he knew," said Chandler Vannoy.

Duncan, who graduated last year, was pursuing a career in ministry at UT and working as an intern for Campus Crusade for Christ or CRU.

"While this is a time of mourning and sadness, with any death, this is a great time to be joyful," added Warren.

He says that's because of one memory from Sunday morning.

"In the hospital room, our CRU director and his wife were sitting outside, and Sunday morning a telephone alarm started going off. They looked around to see if it was theirs, Britton reached down in his backpack and saw that it was Gavin's. The memo on the alarm said 'Spend time with Jesus,'" added Vannoy.

Loved ones say Duncan lived life to the fullest. 

"His death was tragic, but that does not shadow Gavin's life because the light in Gavin's life was Jesus and that will continue to shine on," said Vannoy.

Friends tell 6 News they plan on holding a memorial service for Duncan in the coming days.

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