UNL Student Dies in Prague, Family and Friends Say He Brought 'Vigor to Life'

LINCOLN, Neb.-- Keaton Klein was a beloved son, the best friend a brother could ask for, a promising business student at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and a devoted friend.

He left his home in Lincoln July 5, heading overseas for a summer program at Oxford. Unfortunately, that day, and Fourth of July celebrations the day before, ended up being the last time his friends and family back home would see him.

UNL's News Director Steve Smith said Keaton died after falling from a building early Sunday Morning in Prague. Keaton was overseas participating in the Advanced Nebraska at Oxford Program which was to start on July 20.

When Jaxson Klein, Keaton's brother, first found out earlier this week, he didn't want to accept it.

"I thought they got the wrong person, wasn't him," Jaxson said.

"I didn't believe a word that they were saying. Just, in disbelief."

Jaxson described his brother as someone with an unmatched passion for life, with the ability to leave a lasting impression on anyone.

"Always nice," Jaxson said, "always caring about others. He worried about other people before himself. [He] cared about his family a ton."

Keaton loved to surf, snowboard and travel. He was an adventurer who wanted most of all to love those around them, and make them laugh.

Isaiah Bockelman, a friend of Keaton's since pre-school, said it never took much to see what made Keaton special.

"With him, there was endless opportunities," Bockelman said.

"To say the sky is the limit was still too, too short for him. He was going farther than that."

A former fraternity brother, Kenny Edwards, said he was one-of-a-kind.

"When you have someone that's that positive and that optimistic about life," Edwards said, "and just brings that kind of vigor to life, that just inspires you to be better."

Keaton's parents said they're still trying to find out exactly what happened, and that they also don't know exactly when Keaton will be able to turn home. They haven't experienced many problems, but said there is an issue with the time difference and a language barrier.

As family and friends gathered Tuesday to remember Keaton, many said they'll never forget a young man with a contagious smile and intense affection for others.

"He made me the happiest person," Karli Gaines, Keaton's girlfriend, said, "and he didn't even have to do anything to make me happy.

"There was always a smile on your face when you're with him. It's going to be hard not to have him around, that's for sure."

Counseling has been made available for both students traveling with Klein and here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


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