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AP intern Armando Montano celebrated at service

ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Hundreds of friends and colleagues gathered Sunday for a memorial celebration for Armando Montano, a gay news intern for The Associated Press who died at age 22 in Mexico City.

The service was held at Colorado College, where Montano's parents, Diane Alters and Mario Montano, both teach. It was by turns tearful and full of laughter as those gathered recounted how Montano - who was known as "Mando"- had great passion for journalism, family, friends and life.

"If you are a journalist, take Mando's legacy and tell the stories he would have," said Aaron Edwards, a friend who, like Montano, served as a Chips Quinn Scholar with the Freedom Forum for Diversity in 2011.

Among the tributes Sunday were those from Montano's colleagues in Colorado, Mexico and elsewhere around the world. In honor of his life, the song "Gracias a la Vida" by the late Argentine artist Mercedes Sosa was performed, as well as a video and a slide show montage compiled by his friends and family.

"We gather to celebrate a life richly lived," Chaplin Bruce Coriell said.

Montano's body was found June 30 in the elevator shaft of an apartment building near his home in Mexico City's Condesa neighborhood. The circumstances of his death are still being investigated by Mexican authorities.

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