Comstock Twp. man dies after removal from life support

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Comstock Township native who had been on life support in San Francisco, following an assault four days ago, has died.

31-year-old Bryan Higgins was taken off life support Wednesday afternoon at a San Francisco hospital.

At the same time, in both San Francisco and Kalamazoo, friends gathered to celebrate his life.

Despite the somber tone, it was an upbeat message in Kalamazoo Wednesday night, as friends and family gathered to say goodbye to Bryan Higgins.

His uncle, Steve Horton said goodbye in his own way, writing a message on the ground at Bronson Park.

"I love you, Bryan, and I wish you well on this new journey; it's only the beginning," he said.

While holding balloons, a sense of grief swept across the crowd, as no one could understand why 31-year-old Bryan Higgins was beaten Sunday morning in San Francisco.

"We're all confused, we're all sad," Horton said. "It's a shock for somebody so healthy, so young, for so beautiful a soul to leave in that manner."

His friends say Higgins--who they called 'Feather'--enlightened everyone he talked to.

He was a member of a community of gay men looking for a spiritual dimension to their sexuality.

So far, investigations have not revealed a suspect or a motive for the killing.

" robs us of our humanity," said another friend, Thomas Nieuwenhuis. "No one should put their hands on anyone for any reason, whether you agree or disagree with anything, you should just walk away."

Higgins was recently in town, celebrating his wedding.

Now, friends are left holding on to those memories, as they write notes that will be sent to Higgins' husband.

They let go of balloons at 6:33 p.m. Wednesday night--the same time Higgins' family removed him from life support, and he was declared dead.

A vigil was held in San Francisco as well Wednesday.

"Anytime someone passes away, you wonder what you could do to be there, and what you could do to make the difference. It just seems that it was senseless," Horton said.