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Fundraiser set up after sudden death of beloved Burnaby-New West coach and ref

Burnaby resident Felix “Toto” Gonzalez, who also coached in New Westminster, died suddenly on Feb. 22

Tributes are flowing in from the B.C. sporting community and a fundraiser has been set up following the sudden death of a popular basketball coach and referee.

According to a GoFundMe page, Burnaby resident Felix “Toto” Gonzalez, who also coached in New Westminster, died suddenly on Feb. 22, leaving behind a wife, two sons and a daughter.

“Basketball BC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of B.C. basketball official and coach, Felix Gonzalez,” reads a post on the Basketball BC website.

“Felix was a highly accomplished official having officiated at the Canada West, USports, and PACWEST levels as well as being selected numerous times to officiate at the BC High School Basketball Provincials. In addition to his high achievements in basketball officiating, Felix also found time to give back to the game by coaching youth basketball. Felix coached high school boys basketball at New Westminster Secondary for many years. Basketball BC was fortunate to have Felix coach in the BC Summer Games, leading the Fraser River Boys Zone Team on multiple occasions, as well as leading the Burnaby/New Westminster Zone Team at many Basketball BC Zone Championships over the years. He has impacted many in our game through his time as an official and coach. Basketball BC offers our condolences to Felix’s family and all in the basketball community who knew him.

The GoFundMe page describes Gonzalez as someone who inspired others to be their best.

“His strong will, passion, dedication and commitment to our sport, our kids and our community will be sorely missed,” reads the post. “He helped so many young aspiring basketballers and referees and gave generously of his time and talents both on and off the basketball court. He now leaves behind a heartbroken family who’ve lost their beloved husband, father, son, brother and friend. We know that God-willing, he would’ve continued to coach and officiate games and serve our community, while also working hard to support his family and his youngest son’s athletic goals and post-secondary studies. Please consider making a donation and sharing this page to support his grieving family as they navigate the days and years ahead. We invite you to also share your heartfelt words and kind memories in dedication to Coach Felix. Rest In Peace, Coach Felix —Because of you, we’ll always hear the sound of your voice yelling and telling us to “work hard” as we move on in this life ... you will never be forgotten.”